Thursday, March 22, 2007

Popular Mechanics: Future Weapons

In February 2006, we reported on the complex, decades-long campaign to find a new general-issue rifle to replace the aging M-16 — and the two related weaponprograms that showed promise. More than a year later, where are these guns?

This grenade launcher, which fires 25mm “air-bursting” shells that detonate in midair over targets’ heads, is still being developed. But a larger, 30mm version of the XM-25’s microchip-embedded round will be shipped to the U.S. Navy by May, and is slated to be used in the new U.S. Marines Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.

Gunmaker FNH expected its SCAR system, an assault rifle that̢۪s more accurate than the M-16 and less prone to jamming, to be delivered to special operations units by late spring of 2006. It was an ambitious timetable, but at press time the SCAR had yet to be fielded, and FNH declined to comment.

In a post a few weeks ago here, I linked to an article in the Army Times about the 416, a new weapon that is viewed by many (including the Delta Force) as far superior to the M16 or M4. The 416 is already field tested and widely in use by American Special Forces, yet the Army has shown no interest in fully converting its arsenal of M16 and M4's.

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