Textron Unveils Ultra-Light 7.62mm Machine Gun Effort


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.



About the Author

Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox is a reporter at Military.com. He can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.
  • It looks a lot like the M 240, but looks like the next evolution in firearms is the bullet, not the gun.

  • jay

    This is such promising technology. They are also working on a 6.5mm carbine.
    Hope they have enough common sense, when they get this system adopted, to get it done in a single intermediate cartridge, instead of two.their testing already proved that the 6.5mm version outperforms the 7.62mm at 1000 meters.

    • Russ Baer

      Look at the 6.5 creedmoor and its abilities. It may not have quite the impact of a 7.62. but placement is even more important than weight.

  • Lance

    Looks more like a M-60. Still apprehensive about telescoping cased ammo has alot more movement and mechanics to work more parts more that can go wrong.

    • Moose

      Lance I’m fair sure we had this conversation on Kit Up! in the past: It’s not telescoping ammunition, it’s telescopED ammunition. The name comes from the fact that instead of sitting at the front of a the case with propellant behind, the bullet sits completely within the case mostly surrounded by propellant. In function, the round has no extra moving parts.

  • guest

    My concern is that when you lighten a gun beyond a certain point, you greatly reduce overall durability and reliability.

    Instead of developing both 5.56 and 7.62 why not simplify things and develop just on caliber, the 6.5?

    • Geof

      Because then you’re selling a caliber as well as a weapon/cartridge…and you can’t sell, it they’re not interested in buying. Get the 7.62 variant running…then you can do side-by-side comparisons before putting something into production or procuring bunches of ammo. Right now, they’d point at a 6.5, and go “but it’s heavier than the 5.56”,

      • guest

        You are right. The U.S. was still issuing and using the the blackpowder 45-70 when the rest of the world had gone to modern smokeless powder cartridges. In the Spanish American War, our volunteer and NG units were carrying trapdoor 45-70s, while the Spanish troops were armed with 7×57 and Mauser bolt action rifles.

        • A lot of good the lighter Mauser did for the Spanish in that tussle.

    • Hooksdown

      Makes too much sense.

    • Pat

      6.5 mm rounds are not NATO standard ammunition and never will be. It is a dead end round.

      • Marc

        NO telescoped ammo is NATO standard so if they’re going to take the plunge they might as well choose the superior performer in favor of utterly unnecessary and contraproductive tradition. With your attitude we’d be stuck with hurling rocks because nothing ever started out as a standard.

    • Developing a new caliber doesn’t promise the weapon’s weight savings that this new approach to ammo does.

      You are missing the point to promote a favorite cartridge.

  • 11CP5

    If it turns out to be a good weapon that will make the grunts one happy person. Why not make a rifle for the rifleman in 7.62 also. One ammo. Just my two cents.

    • guest

      Because the 7.62, like the 30-06, is becoming obsolete. There are newer calibers that are better ballistically, with less weight and recoil.

      • DBM

        Soldiers will still bitch about the weight of the weapon.

  • FormerDirtDart

    OK, they are not developing a 6.5mm carbine or ammunition. That’s just nonsense.
    The LSAT program is developing weapons to fire 5.56mm and 7.62mm caseless (CL) & cased telescopic (CT) ammunition.
    They are using 5.56mm and 7,62mm so they can use current weapons and ammo as a baseline. This way they can accurately determine what realistic weight savings can be found. And, compare weapons & ammunition operability, durability and effectiveness.
    Yes, the program has, since it’s inception, been targeted for scalability. To be able to adapt to any caliber of ammunition, if so desired IN THE FUTURE.
    No such decision has been made. And frankly, there is no chance a change of caliber decision will be made until an ammunition path (CT or CL) has been finalized. And, that can’t happen until actual tests against the baseline have been completed.
    Anyone offering other information is simply spreading unrealistic and uninformed internet chat room gossip.

    • jay

      Why don’t you check the official images posted last week by the army?
      Check this out:[img]http://usarmy.vo.llnwd.net/e2/c/images/2015/05/06/392991/original.jpg[/img]
      Just read the conclusions of the best cartridge study and the info about the carbine. The prototype carbine will be built in the most efficient cartridge.

    • FDD – Any discussion of Army weapons is going to bring out the BBF caliber/gun crowd. They totally miss the point of the technology and use the comment section as a vehicle to promote their BFF solution.

  • JohnnyRanger

    How does this work?

    • The projectile is embedded in a composite cylinder surrounded with powder. The cylinder replaces the case and 40% of the weight of the round.

      The cycling of the gun is different. There’s a video in this article. http://gruntsandco.com/army-testing-new-saw-light

      The elimination of a brass case that has to be pulled out of the chamber allows you to cut weight in the receiver, bolt and accompanying parts. Since the chamber rotates down to get in line with the barrel (watch the video) you don’t have a bolt and all the hardware that goes with it. You also don’t need a heavy receiver to handle a bolt slapping back and forth. Empty cases are pushed out by new ones (like on a Bradley’s 25mm instead of the more traditional approach) eliminating an extractor. Being smart in other places also cuts weight.

  • Brian B. Mulholland

    Some prior attempts to develop caseless ammunition have run into overheating problems; the ejection of a spent case proved necessary to exhaust waste heat that otherwise accumulated in the chamber. For that reason, would cased telescoped rounds be easier to develop than caseless rounds?

    Lance, does a cased telescoped round really require a more complex firearm?

    • Valvatorez

      Nope. He’s talking out his ass again.

  • Justin

    I am skeptical about telescoped ammunition and caseless ammunition. In both the projectile lies within a case. This could have dramatic implications on accuracy. With a standard round, the round is seated and ideally the projectile is positioned such that the rifling will engage evenly. With the telescoped ammunition the round has to move some distance, say a quarter inch, where the slightest wobble would lead to an uneven seat in the rifling and cause a flyer. I like the idea, but I also like the idea of a jetpack, physics is just a B about it.

    • Lobo

      They need to get the Universal Intermediate Assault Cartridge standardized – 7x46mm / 6.8x43mm/ 6.5x43mm rather than just create an ultralight machine gun pushing the 7.62×51.

      This is the 21st Century and not the 20th Century.

      • Stefan S.

        Yet we still have 5.56 in 50+ year old Stoner designed M-16’s/M-4’s. Just sayin!

      • Greg

        Doesnt matter what century were in! In war, it dosn’t matter what round you use. So long as it makes the bad guy secrete pink mist.

    • jay

      That is a problem of the CASTLES ammo and not of a POLYMER CASE TELESCOPING ammo. The propellant in a CT case contained I. A plastic case and the plastic is a very good isolator, so there’s a lot less heat transferred to the chamber. CT ammo is good to go. The 5.56mm lmg tested by the army was a lot more reliable and accurate than the M249.

    • jay

      Just check the thread about LSAT at ar15.com. An army guy that took part in the testing posted a lot about it and he had only good things to say about this program.

  • Vietnam Vet

    Wow, a lot lighter then my old M-60 that fired 100 round belts of 7.62 ammo.

  • Vietnam Vet

    “Humping the M-60” in the Hot Jungle was a killer because of weight. S & D Missions almost every day lasted 12 to 14 hours in the heat and jungles of Vietnam. One good thing about my M-60, kept it and the ammo as clean as possible and it never jammed on me. Flipped the whole gun up and down and if you could hear and feel the gas piston slide up and down, you were good to go. Had my M-60 “Run Away” once (Keeps firing after releasing the trigger..) because of a worn out seer pin in the bolt assembly, but never jammed.

    • Brian B. Mulholland

      There must’ve been a lot of rounds through that M-60 for that to happen. If the Internet allowed for teleportation, I’d have you over for beer and a bull session.

      I am not a veteran, just very interested.

      • Vietnam Vet

        Thanks Brian. We will just have to settle for a virtual beer.

  • guest

    This telescoped ammo must eat up a lot of the space normally reserved for powder. Are we in fact shooting ammo with greatly reduced muzzle velocity due to lack of propellent (powder)? How does that work?

    • Stormcharger

      Actually no. Most cartridges are not packed to the brim with propellant and have some space left over. In addition, removing the necked portion of a case increases the available volume of the cartridge allowing plenty of space for the normal propellant charge and the projectile.

      • guest

        Actually most cases are filled to 90% or better with powder. Any less is very inefficient. There isn’t a whole lot of space left over to fill with a bullet.

        • Everything Stormchanger said AND using better propellant uses less space…

  • Paladin

    This particular program office has a track record of spending a lot and fielding little but incremental improvements. What ever happens, I hope the PM shop improves small arms lethality for our soldiers.

    • How much have they spent?


      I was in the Ordnance Corps briefly at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Working with Picatiny Arsenal, we developed tons of cutting edge stuff, but it never got fielded to the troops because of politics and pork spending. Politicians love having their districts keep the most useless programs open, but wont open new factories employing American workers to make new products.Especially when it comes to our ground troops.

      Case in Point, we haven’t used a single M1 Abrams tank since the second gulf war, but we continue to keep manufacturing them by the hundreds in spite of having thousands in active duty and storage. We aren’t selling that many to Iraq or any friendly allies either. Another perfect example, the politicians want to cut everything to get this Giant POS F-35 into the air, while cutting some of the most battle tested and proven planes the A-10 and some F-16’s.

      I would be shocked if this gets fielded to any troops at all. Maybe SOF if they’re lucky.

      • orly?

        I find it an odd reality that Jersey (even as a resident) also has cutting edge military equipment.

        I try telling that to my Texan friends that every now and then.

  • msgingram

    I remember the introduction of the 6.5 in 1000 M. matches. They did well but not enough projectile weight, sectional density, for consistent wind handling. The 7.62 projectile is still the most reliable and you can carry lots of it. “HOWEVER” it needs a little boost by going to the .300 Win. Mag. Today’s battlefield is open areas that the 5.56 m/m just does not work well. 7.62X51 is not reliable for those long shots that are needed for today’s problems. If you get to light with the 7.62X51 it can be a feisty MG that you cannot keep on target due to recoil. The M240 has tested for use with the .300 Win. Mag round BUT the US does not want to use it as it would cost a small fortune to fire very many rounds through this. The .50 is heavy, the ammo is a b-tch to hump, it is very slow when firing, and it costs about $8.50 a round Plus it it a killer to hump. This MG might be a good SAW replacement as it will get a more effective round down range, caseless ammo is dangerous and will cost lives.

    • Guest

      Sectional density has not much affect on wind handling. Ballistic coefficient does. 6.5 has a better ballistic coefficient than a 7.62.

    • Joe

      Which is why the 6-6.5mm rounds consitently are what the top 20 shooters in long range (+600M) competitions are using.

  • Joe

    How is it that in the 1940’s the late great Melvin Johnson could design a sub 15lb belt fed variant of his 1944 LMG in full blown .30-06 using machined steel, stampings, and wood, but everyones amazed with this design? Apart from the semi caseless ammo its underwhelming.

    • Guest

      That was back in the days before our government became anti-gun and our culture started being anti-gun. Now days most of the stuff that comes out of the few remaining American gun manufactures is cheap and shoddy. Serious small arms R&D is not encouraged.

      • Brian B. Mulholland

        To what firearm is Joe referring? I’d like to look it up.

    • jose

      Johnson’s weapon was magazine fed.

  • orly?

    What does it take to have NATO standardize a new round?


      2 Acts of God Almighty himself……

    • Moose

      A lot of politicing, usually. But if the US puts its weight behind adopting a new round the alliance members are likely to come on board.

  • ALAN


    • Arthur Moss

      The M-14 was a good weapon, as was the M-1 Garand. Ruger makes a Mini-14 chambered in .308. All that I had was a M-1 Garand until I got in I got in my Aviation unit. Then I was a provided a .30 M-1 Carbine. They were used a lot in WWII for all who were not infantry. The carbines used a 10 & 30 round Magazines.

    • Bruce Anderson

      Yes. I carried one in Vietnam — Marine grunt, fire team/squad leader, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, Third Marines — 50 years ago. Nearly as solid and reliable as the almost indestructible M1; with the inherent advantage of a twenty round magazine. And 500 yard accuracy was impeccable (I spent my last year in the Marine Corps — 1966 — as a marksmanship instructor at Weapons Training Battalion, Quantico Va., teaching 2nd Lieutenants how to qualify with the M-14, and the Navy 45).

  • freddiesaid

    I’ve only had to carry a M240 once on patrol. It got so heavy after a while, I was glad to go back to my M4 and M9. This lighter version will surely make a lot of infantrymen happier. Hopefully it can handle the wear and tear of a combat rotation.

  • lee,yang-woo

    Hi ?,it is a must to defend each NATION, THAT’S GREAT.

  • shootist

    I would prefer a 6mm/243 bullet of 85 to 90 grains based on a 6.8spc cartridge with a brass length of about 1.90 inches. That would give me a muzzle velocity of about 3100 fps and a baliistic coefficient at .410. It would produce far less recoil than the 308, more compact ammo and 35% less weight. This would out perform the 5.56 by far and nearly equal the the 308 out to about 800 yards.

  • ron

    Ultra light m240 light machine is good. but will it hold up to repeated firing short or long bursts. will the barrel with stand repeated hot and cold periods and not bend, warp, pit, sag, are just flat break at some point and either injure the operator or it servicers. and the receiver is critical too. will it hold up to repeated abuse of sand, rain, are hard handling. that is the main question. will it hold up are just be another retired generals bid to get rich for some arms company that he became the CEO of after retirement ??????.

  • Dale

    Maybe a MG with interchangeable barrel for the 2 standard cartridges, 7.62 to 5.56 and vise versa. In case of running low of one caliber, will be able to change barrel to adapt to available ammo.

  • Tom

    Lightening up the weapons, whatever their effectiveness, is the goal in order to clear the way for women in combat. When you downgrade the physical requirements as the political elite is doing, something has to give. While many men will welcome the lighter weight, the real driver is the push for women-in-combat. Most are overwhelmed with the loads today.

  • Tom

    The M249 is already only 3 lbs heavier than they’re talking here.

    • seans

      The 5.56 version being shown is 7 pounds less than the M249, and the 7.62 is far lighter than the 240.

  • Tetalon

    I miss my M60 it was a heavy beast plus those belts of 100 rounds everybody had to carry, but it was way better to reach out and touch someone at 1 kilometer then the 240 0r 249. just my 2 cents worth, and I could carry it 12 to 14 hours no problem as long as I had the strap. In training I had to carry it with out the strap.

    • seans

      The 240 shoots the 7.62 also, and has better accuracy and range than the M60.

  • azimuth

    Aside from the terrific weight savings, the CT cartridge transfers dramatically less heat to the barrel AND the chamber. Conventional plastic cases do this too, but have serious extraction problems. This clever design eliminates extraction problems by any reasonable measure. Earlier rounds had equal accuracy to the the M855 in the M249, but newer versions appear to be better. I assume that’s from quality improvement in the case construction.