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As part of a $20 million deal with Sig Sauer, the US military is replacing its M4 rifle and M249 automatic squad weapons with two new rifles — the XM5 rifle and XM250 automatic rifle. The XM5 rifle will become the standard personal weapon for every American soldier. Moreover, the forces will switch to 6.8 mm ammunition from 5.56 mm.
The XM5 weighs approximately 3.8 kg, a slight increase over the M4, which usually weighs 3.4 kg. Light machine gun versions of the M249 and M240 weigh about 8 kg and 12 kg, respectively, while Sig Sauer’s unique design for the light machine gun versions weighs about 5 kg.
US military spokesman said that the new weapons will include a number of tactical rounds of training designed to improve accuracy and lethality of weapons, as well as the XM157 Fire Control optic, which includes laser range finding, ballistic calculators, visible and infrared lasers, and a compass.
It is unclear how many weapons will be purchased over the next decade by the U.S. military, or when exactly its fighters will abandon the weapons they have been using for decades. Military.com reports that the defense budget request for 2023 calls for 29,046 weapons – but they must still be approved by Congress.