TAMPA, Fla. — Textron Systems showed off its newest effort to develop an ultra-light 7.62mm machine gun at the 2015 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference.
The new MG is being designed to weigh 14.5 pounds – more than eight pounds lighter than the lightest version of the M240.
The effort is part of the Case-Telescoped Weapons and Ammunition program which has produced a matured 5.56mm lightweight machine gun similar to the M249 squad automatic weapon, according to Textron officials.
The newer 7.62mm version is under contract with Joint Service Small Arms Program Office to develop the operating system to handle the larger caliber, according to Ben Cole, mechanical engineer for AAI Corp., owned by Textron. JSSAP is based in the U.S. Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
Formerly known as the Army’s Lightweight Small Arms Technologies, or LSAT, the program is designed to lower ammunition weight by 40 percent as well as producing significantly lighter infantry weapons.
The result would be a 14.5-pound 7.62mm case-telescoped machine gun, compared to the Army’s M240B machine gun which weighs 27 pounds. The new, lightweight version — the M240L — weighs about 22 pounds.
The overall effort has already produced a 5.56mm CT weapon that weighs 9.4 pounds, compared to the M249 SAW, weighing in at approximately 17 pounds.
Military testers have fired about 85,000 5.56mm CT rounds through 10 test guns, said Cole, adding that the weapon has gone as far as it can go until the Army decides if it wants to make it a program of record.
A firing prototype of the 7.62mm CT weapon is expected to be ready by the fall of 2016, Cole said.