What is the M249 Squad Automatic weapon
Portable light machine gun
A. Squad automatic weapon (SAW), also known as Automatic weapon section or light support weapon (LSW) is a fully automatic firearm that provides infantry squads or detachments with a portable source of fully automatic firepower. Weapons used in this role are often selective fire rifles, usually equipped with a bipod and a heavier barrel to function as light machine guns. The squad's automatic weapons typically fire the same cartridge as the assault rifles or combat rifles carried by other members of the squad. This reduces the logistical requirement since only one type of ammunition has to be delivered to a unit. Squad automatic weapons are light enough to be operated by one person, unlike heavy machine guns like the M2 Browning, which fire more powerful cartridges but require a crew to operate at full effectiveness.
One of the first weapons in this role was the Madsen machine gun. Although the Madsen is limited these days, it was introduced at a time when the standard infantry rifle was a bolt-action device with fixed magazines that was reloaded with individual cartridges or chargers. Sustained rapid fire with these weapons could only be sustained for very short periods of time. The Madsen was capable of fully automatic fire; Although the magazine capacity was limited, it was still more than that of the infantry rifle and it was a detachable, quick-release magazine. Although the Madsen is over 100 years old, its use today is limited. The standard machine guns of this era were of the Maxim type. These weapons were used by the British, Germans and Russians. They were bulky, heavy, tripod-based, and water-cooled. They required a team of four men and, while excellent at defense, were unsuitable for maneuvering.
Another landmark weapon in this role was the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). Introduced late in World War I, it remained on the front lines in the Vietnam War. Originally intended as an automatic rifle capable of triggering suppressive “wildfire” in advance, the BAR was used in the role of the light machine gun. During World War II, as the importance of a mobile automatic fire source increased, the number of BARs in a unit also increased, until in some units it represented 1 out of 4 of the weapons in a squad. During his long service in the US military, it was crucial in developing the tactics and doctrine of the US fireteam that continues to this day.
Modern squad automatic weapons (like RPK and L86) are modified assault rifles or combat rifles (e.g. FN FAL 50.41 and M14A1) that may have higher ammunition capacity and heavier barrels to withstand sustained fire, and almost always have a bipod. With some assault rifles like the H & K G36 or the Steyr AUG, the SAW is simply the standard rifle, with some parts being exchanged. Although the Austrian Army issues the Steyr AUG rifle, it does not issue the HBAR (Heavy Barrel) variant. Instead, the 7.62 mm caliber MG74 is released, a derivative of the German MG 42 from the time of the Second World War.
Light machine guns, either with belts or magazines, can be used as the squad's automatic weapons, as can general-purpose machine guns. For example, during most of the Cold War, the FN Mag-derived L7 was the standard automatic weapon in the British Army. The automatic troop weapons most frequently used today are based on two basic patterns: the RPK based on Kalashnikov or the specially developed FN Minimi.
West Germany's original plan at the end of the 1980s was the new 5.56 mm Heckler & Koch G41 assault rifle (a variant of the HK33) as a replacement for the 7.62 mm Heckler & Koch G3 slaughter rifle and the 4.7-mm Heckler & Koch G11 carabiners use the 9mm IMI MP2 Uzi and Heckler & Koch MP5. The end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany in 1990 forced everyone to look for a cheap alternative. The G36 family was created from a proof-of-concept prototype that was rearranged to fire the 5.56mm NATO cartridge. It consists of an assault rifle (G36), a light machine gun (MG36), an assault carbine (G36K) and a PDW (G36C).
In the 1980s, the Italian military pondered the idea of using a 5.56mm heavy barrel and magazine automatic rifle. It was intended to accompany the 5.56 mm Beretta AR70 / 90 assault rifle and complement the 7.62 mm MG 42/59 general purpose machine gun. Rethinking the concept instead led to the introduction of the belt-fed FN Minimi.
The Dutch Marine Corps is the only part of the Dutch military that uses the LOAWNLD (an updated version of the Colt Canada Light Support Weapon) as the squad's automatic weapon. All other branches use the FN Minimi for this role.
Soviet Union / Russian Federation 
The Russian Support Weapons Concept was developed to provide a standard cartridge that can be used by the Clip-Feed Rifle (SKS), the Magazine-Feed Assault Rifle (AK-47), and the Belt-Feeded Light Machine Gun (RPD). SKS and RPD were rated as less effective than hoped. The RPK, with its magazine and parts common to the AK-47 base, was more effective. It replaced the RPD as soon as manufacturing techniques made it possible to mass-produce it.
United Kingdom 
The SA80 program was designed to create a family of light assault weapons that share common parts, use the same ammunition and magazines, and are intended to replace the British military's collection of submachine guns, rifles and light machine guns. Originally designed around a lighter experimental 4.85mm cartridge, they had to redesign the weapon to accommodate the 5.56mm NATO cartridge. The L85 IW (Single weapon) was the rifle version and was designed to replace the 9mm L2 Sterling SMG and 7.62mm L1A1 SLR rifle. The L86 LSW (Light support weapon) was the automatic rifle version and was intended to replace the L4 BREN pistol and complement and replace the FN MAG general purpose machine gun at the section level. Some troubles, inferior parts, poor ergonomic design, and the inability to be left-handed made the SA80 suite unpopular. The magazine-fed L86 has been found not to be as permanently fireable as a belt-fed system. Therefore, it was first supplemented by the L110A1 FN Minimi and then replaced by this. The role of the L86 was then changed to that of a Designated Marksman Rifle.
United States 
In the US, the M249 light machine gun is commonly referred to as the Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW).
In the 1970s, the United States began to realize that it might have to wage conflict in the deserts and mountains of the Middle East or the Middle East, rather than the jungles of Asia or the forests of Europe and Eurasia. The Squad automatic weapon The program was designed to make an intermediate weapon between the M16 rifle and the M60 machine gun. It would need to fire tracer ammunition up to a visible range of 800 meters or more, be able to create sustained high volume fire, and be lighter and more reliable than the M60. Originally, the competitors were built around a new intermediate cartridge, but problems with the approval of a new third US-supported standard NATO cartridge forced it to be abandoned. The program then chose between the control group weapons: FN Minimi (XM249) and Heckler & Koch HK 23 (XM262), which were intended for the improved 5.56mm SS109 round. The FN Minimi was adopted as the M249 because it can optionally be fired from magazines via an integrated magazine connection instead of requiring parts to be replaced on site like the HK23.
The Infantry Automatic Rifle program was launched by the United States Marine Corps in 2005. His job was to find a replacement for the heavy and clumsy M249 SAW, which at the time served as a squad automatic weapon in a fireteam. Two of the guns in the competition were the FN SCAR HAMR and a slightly modified HK416. The weapon chosen as a replacement for the M249 was the modified HK416, later referred to as the M27 IAR. The US Army continues to use the M249 SAW as an automatic troop weapon.
In 2019, the US Army launched the Squad Weapon - Automatic Rifle of the next generation program to find replacements for M249 SAW and replacements for 5.56 × 45 mm NATO cartridges. There are three competitors:
See also 
- ^Boe, David (Aug. 1, 1997). “Mission continues” (PDF). The talon. 3 (31). Eagle Base, Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina: Public Affairs Office of the 1st Infantry Division (Task Force Eagle). p. 6. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
- ^Lewis, Jack (September 12, 2007). Ken Ramage (Ed.). The Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons (7th ed.). Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. Pp. 14, 74, 156, 245. ISBN. Retrieved November 27, 2013.
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