The SOCOM’s new lightweight machine gun to replace M240 SAW could be Sig Sauer’s SLMG, a brand new designed machine gun. The SLMG, the Sig Sauer Lightweight Machine Gun, was unveiled this week at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, the Army Times reports.
Since May 2017, the U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has been hunting for a new lightweight machine gun. Then they have revealed that they are looking for 5,000 belt-fed machine guns that, chambered in .338 Norma Magnum, weighed under 24 pounds.
Weighing in at 20 pounds and rocking a foldable stock, the SLMG seems to fit these conditions. A former member of Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group and current Sig Sauer Academy instructor, Colin Murphy, claimed that the SLMG is “the lightest, most powerful [man-portable] machine gun on the face of the earth,” according to Military.com.
The SIG SAUER Next Generation Squad Weapons system is the only submission entirely designed, engineered and manufactured by a single American company.
The SLMG rate is 600 rounds a minute, Military.com reports, which also meets SOCOM’s requirements. It also fulfills SOCOM’s requirement of having an effective range of 2,000 meters. Even better, Army Times reports that engineers at Sig Sauer are working on designing a “drum-type” magazine that could be used as an alternative to belt-fed ammunition.
SOCOM also requires that the machine gun can use both suppressed and unsuppressed barrels. According to Sig Sauer, the SLMG isn’t just suppressor-ready, but tests haven’t revealed any change in the weapon’s rate of fire while using a suppressor, according to the Army Times.
Indeed, the SLMG could “not only replace the M240 SAW in most tactical scenarios but also provide enough reach and firepower in the vehicle, boat and aircraft-mounted .50-caliber machine gun configurations,” as Army Times reported.
However, it is worth noting that this is Sig Sauer’s first stab at a medium machine gun. When the contract was first announced in 2017, it seemed likely that SOCOM would end up with General Dynamics’ 24-pound medium machine gun, given that, at the time, it was the only platform in production that can chamber the .338 Norma Magnum round.
The story is developing and further information is yet to be released, according to the various sources.