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Units of the French Special Operations Command will be the first military force to adopt the latest  FN ENVOLYS machine gun. The weapon was developed by the Belgian firearms manufacturer FN Herstal. 

The EVOLYS is notable in that it was developed to be capable of having a suppressor permanently fitted without impacting the weapon’s performance. 

The EVOLYS was unveiled in the two most widely used NATO calibers — 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm NATO — last May, while variants in additional calibers are currently in development. 

The compact weapon combines the belt-fed machine gun firepower with assault rifle ergonomics and, depending on variation, weighs either 5.5 or 6.2 kilograms — far lighter than current light machine guns. In fact, this weapon was produced using new techniques in 3D printing as well as advanced polymers. Both factors reduce the weapon’s weight, which  is reported to be upwards of thirty percent lighter than the FN Minimi.

Various optical sights can be mounted in-line, while the iron sights can also remain present. It offers ambidextrous controls, while all actions, including belt engagement, can be done with just one hand, according to 

The select-fire machine gun also provides for semi-automatic fire for point target engagement and fully automatic suppressive fire.

The French units are expected to begin receiving the weapon by early May of this year.