US Army making titanium 50 cal machine guns that are 60 pounds instead of 86

The US Army has created a lightweight Titanium version of its iconic .50-cal machine gun designed to better enable Soldiers to destroy enemies, protect convoys, mount weapons on vehicles, attack targets on the move and transport between missions. The new weapon is 20-to-30 percent lighter than the existing M2, will be made of durable, but lighter weight titanium, Army officials said. This made a 60 pound version of the current 86 pound weapon.

The machine gun is currently used on Humvees, tactical trucks, M1 Abrams tanks, Strykers, some Navy ships and several aircraft such as CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopters and UH-60 Black Hawks. The gun can also be mounted on a tripod on the ground by infantry in a firefight or combat circumstance; the M2 has a solid range and can fire at point targets up to 1,500 meters and destroy area targets at distances up to 1,800 meters.

They fire 500 rounds per minute.

The Army have initial prototypes of the new lightweight .50-cal and released a request for proposal out.

Future .50-cal Innovations

The Army’s .50-cal program is also looking at a longer-term project to engineer a lighter weight caseless ammunition which will reduce the amount of brass needed.

The Army will develop a lighter profile barrel. The want to make a 10 pound barrel instead of the current 26 pound barrel.

In addition, the Army plans to engineer a laser rangefinder, new optics and fire control technology for the .50-cal. Alessio said a new, bigger machine-gun mounted optic will likely be put on the gun within the next five years.