Top Department of Defense engineers at the nation’s small arms laboratories have been feverishly searching for a solution to shortcomings in the design of the current 5.56x45mm ammunition available to soldiers in the field. That solution was revealed during a press conference today.
The 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge has been at the center of ridicule since it’s inception as the round of choice of our military in the 1960s. Servicemen in Vietnam told tales of the round’s inability to cut through vegetation to take out attacking Vietnamese soldiers.
Fast forward 50 years and the tale is much the same with horror stories of the round failing to serve our fighting men in Afghanistan. That may soon change though with the announcement made today.
Dr. Glenn McDoogel, lead small arms munitions engineer at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, announced, “what we present today is a total revamp of the 5.56 NATO round, the end result being a much more capable and effective cartridge.”
Dr. McDoogel disclosed that Army researchers have spent the past 12-years developing and testing an improved 5.56 NATO round at the tune of 25-million dollars. While expensive, the results should speak for themselves.
The key improvements that the research laboratory have announced are as follows:
- Increased the bullet diameter slightly by 2.06mm
- Increased cartridge length by 6mm
- Modifications to M4 rifle to fire the improved round, including increased barrel length and diameter
The Improved 5.56 NATO round and improved M4 Carbine should start appearing in soldier’s hands some time late fiscal year 2013.
We will keep you up to date on this breaking story.