Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
So Long, 5.56: The Army Is Testing A Bigger Bullet For Its SAW And Carbine Replacements
For decades the U.S. military’s rifles and machine guns have chambered either 5.56mm or 7.62mm rounds. Now, the Army’s newest weapons are being tested to fire a new caliber bullet that’s faster and more accurate to give soldiers an edge over their adversaries.
The Army is not saying exactly what types of defenses that this new bullet is meant to penetrate, but last year Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told lawmakers that some types of body armor can stop a 5.56mm round.
“We have to change because of the threats that we face on the battlefield – and I’m not going to go any deeper than that,” said Brig. Gen. Christopher Donahue, director of the Army’s soldier lethality cross functional team. “Our reason for change is based off of threat.”
The Army is currently testing a 6.8mm round for the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and M4 carbine replacements, Donahue told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.
The prototype bullet being tested is significantly lighter than a 7.62mm round because the 6.8mm round’s casing is made out of lighter material, he said.
Another benefit is that it flies at a supersonic velocity for longer, so it is more accurate, retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Scales told Task & Purpose.
“It’s the optimum compromise: It gives you extended range, controllable recoil, and deadly effect because of the velocity and the weight of the bullet,” said Scales, who is chairman of an advisory board to the Pentagon's close combat lethality task force.
If the Army adopted a 6.8mm round, it would need to develop a new action for its carbines and SAW replacement, he said. Since the bullet’s casing would not be made out of metal, the Army would also have to control the heat to keep the casings from melting.
“These are problems that can be solved,” Scales said. “We’re not talking about ballistic missile defense here.”
The round itself is not the biggest technical hurdle to be overcome, Donahue said. Both the automatic rifle that will replace the SAW and the new carbine will have increased chamber pressure and digital sights that “are probably a bigger deal” than the bullet that they will chamber.
Both new weapons are meant for soldiers “who close with the enemy,” including infantry, cavalry scouts, platoon forward observers, engineers and others, he said.
The Army is testing both the automatic rifle and new carbine at the same time, but the service expects to field the SAW replacement first, Donahue said.
“The carbine is not far behind,” added Donahue, who declined to say when the new weapons might eventually be fielded.
“The Army has made the replacement of the squad automatic weapon and the M4 carbine – based off of potential enemy threats out there – a top priority,” Donahue said. “We will do everything to make sure that we as rapidly as possible get the right capability into the hands of our soldiers, but we will make sure that the capability that we give them is ready – it is tested, to include significant soldier test points – to make sure that we get is exactly what they need to fight, win, and survive in combat.”
The soldier who was arrested for taking an armored personnel carrier on a slow-speed police chase through Virginia has been found not guilty by reason of insanity on two charges, according to The Richmond-Times Dispatch.
Joshua Phillip Yabut, 30, entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle — in this case, a 12-ton APC taken from Fort Pickett in June 2018 — and violating the terms of his bond, which stemmed from a trip to Iraq he took in March 2019 (which was not a military deployment).
It's been more than a week since a mysterious Russian nuclear accident roughly 600 miles north of Moscow and only the Kremlin and those killed know what happened.
What is known is something exploded on Aug. 8 at a naval weapons testing range near the village of Nyonoksa. The Russian government's official account of the accident has changed several times since then, but the country's weather agency recently confirmed that radiation levels jumped to 16 times greater than normal after the blast.
U.S. media outlets have reported that a nuclear-powered cruise missile named the SSX-C-9 Skyfall likely exploded during testing. President Donald Trump appeared to confirm as much when he tweeted on Aug. 12 that the United States had gleaned useful information from "the failed missile explosion in Russia."
Top officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs declined to step in to try to exempt veterans and their families from a new immigration rule that would make it far easier to deny green cards to low-income immigrants, according to documents obtained by ProPublica under a Freedom of Information Act request.
The Department of Defense, on the other hand, worked throughout 2018 to minimize the new policy's impact on military families.
As a result, the regulation, which goes into effect in October, applies just as strictly to veterans and their families as it does to the broader public, while active-duty members of the military and reserve forces face a relaxed version of the rule.
Watch the US fire off its first previously-banned missile since the collapse of the INF Treaty with Russia
The U.S. military conducted its first flight test of a conventional ground-launched cruise missile in a test that would have been banned prior to the recent collapse of a Cold War-era nuclear arms agreement.
The missile was launched on Sunday from a testing site on San Nicolas Island in California. "The test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight," the Pentagon explained in an emailed statement, adding that "data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense's development of future intermediate-range capabilities."
In the aftermath of the ISIS suicide bombing at a wedding reception on in Afghanistan that left 63 people dead on Saturday night, Afghan president Ashraf Ghani marked the nation's 100th independence celebration with a solemn vow to "eliminate" the terror group's strongholds across the country.
"We will take revenge for every civilian drop of blood," Ghani declared. "Our struggle will continue against (ISIS), we will take revenge and will root them out."
That might prove difficult. Six month after President Donald Trump declared victory over the ISIS "caliphate" in Iraq and Syria, the terror group continues to mount a bloody comeback across the Middle East — and Afghanistan is no exception.