In an exclusive story to be posted on Military.com tomorrow morning, Kit Up! has learned that the Army is in the final stages of planning a major field test of a weapon designed to fire ammunition that weighs half of what current rounds do.
The so-called Lightweight Small Arms Technologies program run out of Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., has come a long way in the development of cased telescope ammunition that uses a plastic shroud to contain the propellant and 5.56 bullet instead of brass.
Readers will recognize this technology has been around since at least the late '70s, but only now have real resources been brought to bear on the idea. The program, run out of the Joint Service Small Arms Program office, will field at least eight SAW-like machine guns to troops for an exercise in the summer of 2011 to see how the reduced weight and reliability helps the mission.
The experimental SAW with 600 rounds of cased telescope ammo weighs 23.8 lbs -- the current one comes in at 38.3 lbs with ammo.
We'll talk more about this tomorrow on Kit Up!, including a belt-fed battle rifle the engineers are thinking about putting together that weighs as much as an M4. But be sure to read tomorrow morning's Military.com for the full story.
(thanks to the tipster who asked about the LSAT program a few weeks ago!)