Soldiers will get their hands on the Army's new 7.62mm squad marksman rifle as early as next year

popular

An Infantry Soldier along with 15 additional Soldiers assigned to Alpha Company, 4-17 Infantry Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, fires rounds down range with the newly developed Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (SDM-R) on Jan. 25, 2019

(U.S. Army/Sgt. Brian Micheliche)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Heckler & Koch Defense Inc. will soon begin delivering thousands of 7.62mm squad-designated marksman rifles to the Army to give infantry and other close-combat units a better chance of penetrating enemy body armor.

H&K will deliver "between 5,000 and 6,000" variants of the G28 rifle, which the Army plans to issue as its new squad designated marksman rifle (SDMR), according to a July 12 H&K news release.


Under the agreement, the rifles will be manufactured by H&K in Oberndorf, Germany, and will begin to arrive in the H&K-USA facility in Columbus, Georgia, early next year, according to the release. Once there, H&K-USA workers will install scopes and mounts purchased by the Army under a separate agreement.

"This is a significant achievement for Heckler & Koch," H&K-USA's chief operating officer, Michael Holley, said in the release. "The HK SDMR system will add much-needed capabilities to virtually every squad in the Army. We are honored by this opportunity."

The new SDMRs are part of an interim effort to make squads more lethal ahead of the Army's fielding of the Next-Generation Squad Weapon system sometime in 2022, service officials have said.

In May 2017, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told Senate Armed Services Committee members that the service's current M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round will not defeat enemy body armor plates similar to the U.S. military-issue rifle plates such as the Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert, or ESAPI.

As a short-term fix, the Army selected the G28 as its M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System in 2016, to be used with the service's new 7.62mm enhanced performance round to give squads more penetrating power.

In the past, the Army relied on the Enhanced Battle Rifle, or EBR, 14 -- a modernized M14 equipped with an adjustable aluminum stock with pistol grip, scope and bipod legs -- to fill the growing need by infantry squads operating in Afghanistan to engage enemy fighters at longer ranges.

But the EBR is heavy, weighing just under 15 pounds unloaded. The M110A1 weighs about 11 pounds.

In the long term, the Army is working with gunmakers to develop the new Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) that is slated to fire a special, government-produced 6.8mm projectile that promises higher velocities at greater ranges, service officials say.

The program is being designed to produce an automatic rifle version to replace the M249 squad automatic weapon and a carbine version to replace the M4carbine.

Army officials said recently that they expect to begin receiving prototypes of the NGSW in July and August and that the weapon could be fielded to units beginning in late fiscal 2020.

This article originally appeared on Military.com

More articles from Military.com:

SEE ALSO: The Army's Next-Generation M4 Carbine And M249 Saw Replacements Are Coming Sooner Than You Think

WATCH NEXT: 5.56mm Or 6.8mm?

Naval Air Station Pensacola (U.S. Navy photo)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Saudi ambassador to the United States visited a U.S. naval air station in Florida on Thursday to extend her condolences for a shooting attack by a Saudi Air Force officer that killed three people last week, the Saudi embassy said.

Read More Show Less

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Thursday tested a conventionally configured ground-launched ballistic missile, a test that would have been prohibited under the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

The United States formally withdrew from the landmark 1987 INF pact with Russia in August after determining that Moscow was violating the treaty, an accusation the Kremlin has denied.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Air Force airmen from the 405th Expeditionary Support Squadron work together to clear debris inside the passenger terminal the day after a Taliban-led attack at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 12, 2019. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Brandon Cribelar)

Blasts from Taliban car bombs outside of Bagram Airfield on Wednesday caused extensive damage to the base's passenger terminal, new pictures released by the 45th Expeditionary Wing show.

The pictures, which are part of a photo essay called "Bagram stands fast," were posted on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service's website on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

The Pentagon's top spokesman tried to downplay recent revelations by the Washington Post that U.S. government officials have consistently misled the American public about the war in Afghanistan for nearly two decades.

Washington Post reporter Craig Whitlock first brought to light that several top officials acknowledged to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction that the war was going badly despite their optimistic public statements. The report, based on extensive interviews and internal government data, also found that U.S. officials manipulated statistics to create the public perception that the U.S. military was making progress in Afghanistan.

Read More Show Less

Katherine Burton was sitting on her couch when she heard a scream.

Though she had not yet met her upstairs neighbors, Army. Col. Jerel Grimes and his wife Ellizabeth, Burton went to investigate almost immediately. "I knew it was a cry for help," she recalled of the August 1 incident.

Above her downstairs apartment in Huntsville, Alabama, Jerel and Ellizabeth had been arguing. They had been doing a lot of that lately. According to Ellizabeth, Jerel, a soldier with 26 years of service and two Afghanistan deployments under his belt, had become increasingly controlling in the months since the couple had married in April, forcing her to share computer passwords, receipts for purchases, and asking where she was at all times.

"I was starting to realize how controlling he was, and how manipulative he was," Ellizabeth said. "And he'd never been this way towards me in the 15 years that I've known him."

Read More Show Less