Kit Up! received a question on our tip line from a reader who wondered whether the Marine Corps is looking at or would purchase the M240L medium machine gun.
The FN Herstal-made M240L is a lightened version of the M240B, with a titanium receiver, front sight post and carry handle and other enhancements that shave 5-7 pounds off the nearly 30 pound lead spitter. The Army had done an initial UNS fielding of the Spec Ops Mk-48, which is essentially a 7.62 SAW, but developed the 240L to retain the 240′s reliability and toughness with less weight.
The service has purchased about 4,500 of the weapons and plans to buy around 12,000 in all.
But not the Marine Corps, says the service’s top weapons developer.
As expected, the Marine Corps is keeping an eye on the Army’s progress with the 240 “Lima” but as of now, the service sees the program as a bit pricey for modest weight savings.
Instead, our tapped in source tells us, the Corps is exploring technologies in various states of maturity to lighten and strengthen the barrel. There are carbon fiber coatings, new alloys and ceramic liners — some of which are available now — that could keep the barrel the same weight, but decrease heat retention, guard against warp and eliminate cook offs.
“We are able to imagine an M240B with a barrel that you never have to change in the middle of a fight,” our source tells us.
But more than that, the Corps is also interested in new barrels that incorporate suppressors. We’re not talking suppressors that attach to the barrel, we’re talking suppressors that are built into the barrel.
Our source tells us Marines have realized in Afghanistan that supressed weapons dole out a great psychological effect.
“We’ve found the bad guys don’t like not being able to hear where the round is coming from,” our Marine source tells us.
A supressor on a medium machine gun? Seriously?…
Dead serious our source tells us. It’s not just science fiction and if the science matures to field testing, the Corps will be all over it.