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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.”
'It just happened' — the Iraq War’s first living Medal of Honor recipient recalls his harrowing fight against 5 insurgents
On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.
Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.
In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.
With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.
After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.
Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.
McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.
Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.
WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.
Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."
"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.
While it can be difficult to peg down just how star-spangled a state is, one indicator is the rate at which citizens enlist in the military, especially during the United States' longest period of sustained conflict. At least, that's the thinking behind WalletHub's new study, 2019's Most Patriotic States in America.