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New US Army rifles expected to be fielded on time despite fume fixes

The US Army's XM7 rifle uses 6.8 mm ammunition. The rifle will be delivered to soldiers for a limited user test in October. (US Army)

The US Army will deliver the XM250 automatic rifle and the XM7 rifle to a unit in the 101st Airborne Division by the second quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2024, according to army officials.

The 101st Airborne Division received the first deliveries of the weapon on 20 September and will test those weapons in limited user tests starting in October, officials said during a media day at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The weapon is expected to reach the first unit equipped milestone in early 2024 despite toxic fume issues that the service is addressing, Doug Bush, US assistant secretary of the army for acquisition, logistics, and technology, told reporters on 19 September.

On the media day, soldiers demonstrated two weapons from the Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW) family of systems. SIG Sauer's XM7 (previously known as XM5) NGSW-Rifle (NGSW-R) will replace the M4/M4A1 carbine weapon, and the company's XM250 NGSW-Automatic Rifle (NGSW-AR) will replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).

Bush said the army is “very positive” that SIG Sauer can address some of the “small issues” with accuracy and fumes that were revealed in early developmental testing.

After going through production qualification testing that started in May and finished over the summer (June-August), the army decided the adjustments made by SIG Sauer were sufficient to move forward with the programme.

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