ABOVE: Col. Michael Manning (L), Marine Corps Systems Command’s program manager for Infantry Weapons Systems, congratulates Salvatore Fanelli (R) on winning the Donald Roebling Award….
For the past several years SADJ has been following progress of the US Marine Corps’ program to identify and field a suitable alternative to the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. While the 5.56mm belt fed SAW is touted as a relatively portable weapon that can pump out a high volume of fire, many of the Leatherneck MOS 0311 grunts who have been humping this twenty-plus pound package since 1985 have been asking for something lighter, simpler and more reliable….
Developed in the aftermath of WWII and fielded in 1957, the light and handy 7.62mm NATO caliber M60 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) has been alternately praised and cursed by GIs who have carried it combat from Vietnam to Iraq and beyond. Inspired by the WWII German MG42, the M60 was intentionally designed for mass production – cheap and fast on a stamped sheet metal receiver that houses a clever gas operated, carrier-cammed bolt mechanism first seen in the Lewis Gun of WWI….
What’s not to like about a real machine gun that’s significantly lighter than a chunky M240, about the same size as a puny SAW, pumps out powerful 7.62mm rounds with reliability and accuracy, and has long been a force multiplier in elite Navy SEAL Teams? GIs who’ve tried ‘em love ‘em, they’re comparable in price to buy and sustain as the FN guns, they’ve been in the logistics and combat doctrine chains for ever, and they’re 100 percent American designed and built. Slam dunk? Sorry….