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US Army Considering Switching to a 7.62x51mm Battle Rifle

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US Army Considers Adopting an Interim Battle Rifle in 7.62 NATO

 

"According to multiple sources, what started out as a directed requirement for a 7.62 NATO Designated Marksmanship Rifle for issue to Infantry Rifle Squads has grown in scope to increase the Basis of Issue to all personnel in Brigade Combat Teams and perhaps beyond. The genesis of this requirement is overmatch. The troops feel like they’re in a street fight with a guy with longer arms. The 7.62x54R cartridge gives the enemy those longer arms.

Consequently, the Army wants to enable the rifleman to accurately engage targets at a further range than the current 5.56mm. Although at this point, I’ll keep that exact exact distance close to the vest. The goal here is to foster a dialogue about the 7.62 requirement in general, and not offer operational specifics."

"The “Interim” component of this capability’s name relies on a plan to eventually adopt one of the 6.5mm family of intermediate calibers. Currently, elements of the Army are evaluating .260, .264 USA and .277 USA. The .260 is commercially available while .264 USA and .277 USA are developments of the Army Marksmanship Unit. Unfortunately, the US Army doesn’t plan to conduct an intermediate caliber study until the early 2020s. That’s why they want to adopt 7.62mm now. The idea is to adopt the Battle Rifle to deal with a newly identified threat with what’s available now, and transition the fleet to an intermediate caliber cartridge, once its selected. Additionally, the transition to this proposed intermediate caliber cartridge is possible from a 7.62 platform. Such a transition is all-but-impossible with the current 5.56 receiver sets."

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However, the Army may evaluate these GOTS platforms and determine that none of them meet their requirement. In this case they may very well issue an RFP to industry. There are definite long-term advantages to this course of action. For example, the Army can get exactly what they want, rather than adapting a weapon originally procured for another purpose. Additionally, the Army can leverage the latest in small arms technology such as the new short frame receivers. Interestingly, these may well turn out to be more appropriate for use with an intermediate caliber cartridge.

In order to take full advantage of the range of the 7.62 cartridge, the current draft requirement for the IBR calls for a 1×6 variable optic."

Interesting development, some of the issues pointed out in the article as well were that instead of being an interim solution, it could turn into a long-time solution.  The M16 platform was initially considered an interim solution until the SPIW program was concluded, but as we all know, the M16 transformed into a long-term service rifle platform.

Any thoughts on this?

 

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