SOCOM and US Marines to Receive New Medium Machine Gun Firing Accurate Sniper Rounds
Men of the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the U.S. Marines will soon be armed with a new medium machine gun capable of accurately firing precision rounds originally developed for sniper rifles to a distance of 1,700 meters.
The likely candidate for this new crew served weapon is the "Lightweight Medium Machine Gun" (LWMMG) developed by General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products.
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What makes the LWMMG stand-out is its use of the .338 Norma Magnum (.338NM) round long associated with long-range precision rifles. In 2016, SOCOM officially selected the .300NM (based on the .338 casing) as its new advanced sniper rifle cartridge.
The .338NM gives the LWMMG a huge increase in range. LWMMG can fire .338NM rounds to a distance of 1,700 meters compared to the 800 meters for 7.62mm general purpose machine guns such as the U.S. M240 and the Russian PKM.
More important for lethality, the terminal energy of the .338NM at 1,000 meters range is almost four times higher than the energy of the 7.62mm bullet fired from M240.
A .338NM round, however, is heavier than a 7.62 mm round. A .338NM cartridge is twice as heavy compared to 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge.
The concept of a LWMMG also meets the U.S. Army's "overmatching capabilities" doctrine. This doctrine requires new Army weapons to be more lethal than weapons of its adversaries.
LWMMG will overmatch small arms (7.62mm rifles and machine guns) widely employed by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will also greatly overmatch the assault rifles and machine guns used by the People's Liberation Army Ground Force and the Russian Ground Forces.
The rate of fire for the LWMMG is 500 rounds per minute. The LWMMG has an effective range of 1,700 meters and a maximum range of 5,642 meters.
It weighs 10.9 kg (24 lbs), making it only slightly heavier than the M240L, and 1.4 kg lighter than the M240B.
The .338NM bullet has over 6,300 joules of muzzle energy and is four times more powerful than the 7.62mm NATO at 1,000 meters.