After years of anticipation, the Marine Corps has finally started fielding suppressors to grunts in close combat formations, Task & Purpose has learned.

The service “began the process of fielding thousands of suppressors to infantry, reconnaissance and special operation units” in December for use on the Corps’ arsenal of M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles, M4 carbines, and M4A1 Close Quarter Battle Weapons, Marine Corps Systems Command spokesman Kelly Flynn confirmed in an email to Task & Purpose.

News of the fielding comes after MARCORSYSCOM back in July announced its intent to award a single-source contract to Knight’s Armament Company for 5.56 mm small arms suppressors.

“Our intent is to posture our Marines with capability now in order to improve the lethality of our Marine Corps Close Combat Forces,” as MARCORSYSCOM spokesman Many Pacheco told Task & Purpose at the time.

While the Corps has fielded suppressors to reconnaissance units and employed them on the M27-based M38 Squad Designated Marksmanship Rifle in the past, the proliferation of suppressors among close combat units has been years in the making.

Starting in 2016, the Corps initiated a series of experiments that saw several units from the 2nd Marine Division apply suppressors to every element of an infantry battalion from the M4 to the M2 .50 caliber machine gun.

By mid-2017, the 2nd MarDiv’s Bravo Company, 1st Battalion became the first unit to deploy with suppressors on every individual service weapon during a rotational deployment to Norway.

Months later, MARCORSYSCOM issued a sources sought notice to the defense industry for between 18,000 and 194,000 commercially-available suppressors for the M27, M4, and M4A1.

“The intent is to suppress every M4, M4A1 and M27 in the infantry community,” MARCORSYSCOM program manager for infantry weapons Lt. Col. Tim Hough said in 2019.

Related: No, the Marine Corps is not replacing the M27 with the Army’s next-generation squad weapon after all