Incoming Marine Corps Commandant Jim Amos said during a “Town Hall” meeting at Quantico that he was so impressed with the M-27 Infantry Automatic Rifle that the highly accurate machine carbine could mean the demise of the M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon.
I went out to Weapons and Training Battalion and I fired the [IAR] … and this thing could — notice I didn’t say ‘would’ — could replace the SAW. And it weighs half as much.
The commandant, an F-18 pilot who is the first aviator to become the top general of the Marine Corps, is on a crusade to lighten the load, joking in an earlier comment that the Army asked him to demo a piece of gear he wouldn’t name that gave him “complete situational awareness” but weighed 13.5 pounds.
Marines already wear 65 pounds worth of gear, Amos said, “and I’m going to give them this cosmic little doo da that will give me complete situational awareness…we’re not going to do it.”
(Nett Warrior, methinks?)
So Amos is bullish on weight and impressed with the IAR, but he clearly recognizes the internal debate within the Corps over the IAR’s utility (the Gunners are very into it) when he says “could” instead of “would” but also realizes that the kind of accuracy gained from the H&K-built M-27 could be a tactical game changer on more than one level.
Any of you grunts in here who have not fired that weapon, you need to fire that weapon. Because fighter pilot old man here fired it and I put it in about [six inches] at 500 yards. It’s an incredible weapon.
The IAR is not yet in the combat zone, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on reports back to CONUS on its performance when it finally makes it battlefield debut.