M249 light machine gun
The M249 light machine gun was introduced in 1984. It was judged the most effective of a number of candidate weapons to address the lack of automatic firepower in small units. M249s have seen action in every major conflict involving the United States since the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989.
About M249 light machine gun in brief
The M249 light machine gun was introduced in 1984. It was judged the most effective of a number of candidate weapons to address the lack of automatic firepower in small units. The M249 is gas operated and air-cooled. It has a quick-change barrel, allowing the gunner to rapidly replace an overheated or jammed barrel. It can be fed from both linked ammunition and STANAG magazines, like those used in the M16 and M4. M249s have seen action in every major conflict involving the United States since the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1989. The United States Marine Corps is fielding the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle with plans to partially replace the M249 in Marine Corps service. The Army decided that an individual machine gun, lighter than the M60, would be advantageous; troops would no longer have to rely on rifles for automatic fire. In 1968, the Army Small Arms Program developed plans for a new 5. 56 mm caliber LMG, though no funds were allocated. Studies of improved 5.56 mm ammunition, with better performance characteristics, began. The 6mm cartridge was eventually approved in May 1972, when the Army published specifications for the planned SAW. The U. S. Army finally approved development of an alternative LMG in July 1970, with no specified caliber. Actual design of an LMG was not introduced until July 1971, when Frankford Arsenal decided on a new cartridge for the new LMG: a larger case and a 5.54 mm cartridge with a smaller case.
The SAW design was much much much better than the XM233, XM234, and XM 234 that were eventually approved that year for use in the LMG. The Stoner 63 LMG saw combat for a brief period in Vietnam with the Marine Corps, and later on a wider scale with the U S. Navy SEALs. The LMG is a modular weapon that could be easily modified for different purposes. It is often referred to as a \”Squad Automatic Weapon\”. In 1965, the U S. Army and U. s. Marine Corps’ primary machine guns were the M2 Browning and M60. Both were very heavy weapons and usually required a crew of at least two to operate efficiently. The M2 was a large-caliber heavy machine gun since its introduction in World War I, was phased out in 1957 with the introduction of the M14 rifle, which had a fully automatic mode. Some troops were required to use their rifle’s semi-automatic mode on most occasions to increase accuracy and conserve ammunition. However, the 20-round and 30-round magazines of these weapons limited their sustained automatic effectiveness when compared to belt-fed weapons. In July 1972, contracts were awarded to Maremont Arsenal, Philco Ford, Philman Ford, and the Rodman Island Laboratory at Rock Island, New York, for the design of a new SAW with a larger 5.55 mm case.