In a press release published on April 20th, the Department of Defense announced 2 new rifles from manufacturer Sig Sauer, seen here. The XM5 rifle will be used for soldiers in close combat conditions, and it is set to replace the M4/M4A1 carbine. The XM250 is an automatic rifle that is going to replace the M249 Squad automatic weapon. Both rifles will be chambered in a custom 6.8 mm cartridge and feature a brand-new fire control system. These upgraded systems will set the standards for the American military and will increase the precision and effectiveness of close-quarter contacts.
The weapon will begin fielding in late 2023. The initial issue will be delivered to 11B infantrymen, 19D cavalry scouts,12B combat engineers, 68W medics, and 13F forward observers. The manufacture of ammunition will be the limiting factor in how quickly this rifle will be issued to other soldiers. Currently, Sig Sauer is producing the custom rounds. After the trial period, the Army will have ammo production systems installed in Lake City Army Ammunition Plant to meet the military’s ammunition needs. The Army will keep Sig Sauer as an auxiliary supplier if Lake City cannot meet the demand of operations.
The $2.7 billion contract allows the D.O.D. (Department of Defense) to purchase up to 250,000 rifles over the next 10 years. Approximately 120,000 rifles will be needed to fully outfit the Army’s close combat and special operations forces. Issuance will include other branches if they show interest in adopting the system.
Both rifles will feature the new XM157 fire control system. The design has been tailored to increase accuracy and lethality in the close quarters' environment. Both rifles will also be outfitted with the Vortex XM157 optic, which will integrate a variable magnification optic, backup etched reticle, laser range finder, ballistic calculator, atmospheric sensor suite, compass, visible and infrared aiming lasers, and a digital display overlay.
The XM5 and XM250, 6.8mm cartridge, fire control system, and optic have all been designed to adapt to the newest armors and tactics seen in close quarters combat. These upgrades will increase accuracy, provide advanced armor piercing capabilities, and improve reliability. With the XM5’s adoption, the M4 carbine could finally be retired after 28 years of service.
DOD News, & Lopez, C. T., Defense.gov (2022). DOD News. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.defense.gov/News/News-Stories/Article/Article/3005746/army-announces-2-new-rifles-for-close-combat-soldiers/.
Sig Sauer. (2022, March 22). The next generation has arrived. Sig Sauer. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from https://www.sigsauer.com/blog/now-shipping-the-incredible-new-mcx-spear-rifle