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Posts Tagged ‘Heckler & Koch’

According to Matthew Cox’s piece “Corps to Replace SAW With Automatic Rifle,” the commandant of United States Marine Corps General James Amos has approved Heckler and Koch’s M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle for full fielding to all infantry battalions:

Marine infantry squads will replace their M249 light machine gun with a highly accurate, auto rifle geared for fast-moving assaults. In late May, Gen. James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, approved a plan to field the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle to all Marine infantry battalions.

The lightweight auto rifle, made by Heckler & Koch, is a variant of the 5.56mm H&K 416. It weighs just under eight pounds unloaded — almost 10 pounds less than the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.

The decision comes after the Corps fielded 458 M27s to five battalions as they prepared for upcoming deployments to Afghanistan.

“We wanted to get through the limited fielding and get the feedback before we moved ahead with the full fielding,” said Charles Clark III, who oversees infantry weapons requirements at the Corps’ Combat Development and Integration office in Quantico, Va.

“The decision is made. It’s happening,” Clark said.

Program officials plan to spend about $13 million to field all 4,476 M27s by late summer 2013, Clark said. In addition to the guns, that money also pays for spare parts, tools and gauges, he said.

As I have written, the long procurement process has not been without controversy.  However, the anecdotal reports I have heard indicate that H&K’s rifle has performed well in its limited fielding so far.  What remains to be seen is how the entire system–including optic, magazines, and other accessories–will perform.  Trijicon’s TA11SDO, which had been employed on the M249 SAW, will be transfered to IARs; questions remain if its reticle will be well-suited to the IAR and its very different tactical philosophy.  Moreover, there is the issue of existing 30-round magazines.  Due different mag well dimensions, the M27 is also incompatible with MagPul’s PMAG.

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