The Army is planning to test its new rifle light machine gun in extreme conditions this summer, officials said Tuesday.
The XM7 Rifle and XM250 Automatic Rifle, designed by Sig Sauer, will be used in a variety of environments, including hot, cold, mud and “salt fog.” The weapons will replace the M4A1 Carbine and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon within the next decade, Military.com reported.
The XM7 is two pounds heavier than the M4, and the XM250 is five pounds lighter than the SAW.
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So far, the weapons have been tested, with more than 100 technical tests, 20,000 hours of operation and 1.5 million rounds of fresh 6.8mm ammo fired through the new weapons, according to the news outlet.
In addition to environmental testing, the weapons will be tested on its ability to handle malfunctions and blank firing in what the Army calls the Production Qualification Testing, or PQT.
“The soldier touch point allowed the program and Sig Sauer the opportunity to solicit direct soldier feedback on the systems post-contract award and inform simple design changes to improve the weapons before going into Production Qualification Test and Operational Tests in the coming year,” said Capt. Tyler Morgan, assistant product manager for the Next Generation Squad Weapons program.
The two weapons are reportedly popular with the Army’s special operations community. One Army Ranger said about the XM7 that he would “take this weapon to combat in a heartbeat. It is light, functions very well, has an awesome load system, and is easy to handle and engage targets with.”