U.S. Army Chief: The Infantry Needs A New 7.62 mm Rifle

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 1 month ago

Business Insider:

The U.S. Army’s chief of staff revealed Thursday the M4 Carbine’s 5.56mm round can’t penetrate modern enemy body armor plates and plans to arm infantry units with rifles chambered for a more potent 7.62mm cartridge.

Responding to questions from Senate Armed Services Committee members, Gen. Mark Milley conceded that the service’s current M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round will not defeat enemy body armor plates similar to the U.S. military-issue rifle plates such as the Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert, or ESAPI.

“The 5.56mm round, we recognize that there is a type of body armor out there, that it doesn’t penetrate. We also have that body armor ourselves,” he testified.

Milley told lawmakers Army officials at the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, have developed a new 7.62mm round to solve the problem.

“We have developed a pretty effective round down at Fort Benning,” he said. “We know we have a bullet that can penetrate these new plates.”

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, asked if the new bullet will require a new rifle. Milley said, “It might but probably not,” adding that weapons can be chambered for various calibers.

However, the M4 would require a new barrel, bolt carrier group, buffer system in addition to a new lower receiver to shoot 7.62mm ammo, experts maintain.

He later told Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, there are systems on the shelf today that, with some very minor modifications, could be adapted to meet the Army’s needs.

“I think there are weapons out there that we can get in the right caliber that can enhance the capability of the infantry soldier,” Milley said.

He also told lawmakers that not every soldier will need a 7.62mm rifle.

“This idea that the entire Army needs the same thing all the time, it’s not necessarily true,” Milley said. “There are some infantry units that are much more highly likely to rapidly deploy than others and conduct close-quarters combat that we would probably want to field them with a better-grade weapon that can penetrate this body armor that we are talking about.”

The subject of the 5.56mm round being underpowered came up at a May 17 hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Airland Subcommittee. Retired Lt. Gen. John Bednarek and retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales Jr. testified at the hearing about the U.S. military’s future small-arms requirements.

Ernst said that Scales testified about “a weapon that could fill the role of the light machine gun and the rifle.”

“Is the need for a machine gun a higher priority than just a basic rifle?” she asked.

Milley said that infantry units need both to be effective. “I think what [Scales] is talking about is the Marines are adopting … the M27” infantry automatic rifle, a version of the 416 made by Heckler & Koch.

“We are taking a hard look at that and are probably going to go in that direction as well, but we haven’t made a final decision on it,” Milley said. “The infantry squads and infantry platoons — they’ve got to have an automatic weapon for suppression; they’ve got to have the individual weapon as well, so you need both … to be effective in ground combat.”

Wait.  So the Army infantry needs a new 7.62 mm rifle to be “combat effective.”  But not really, because then he mentions automatic weapons and suppression fire.  And then he points out that not all infantry needs this new rifle … er, crew served area suppression weapon … just some of them.  How many, he doesn’t say.  So for instance Army snipers need it.

But Army snipers already have the 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, .338, .300 Win Mag, and .50.  So they don’t really need it.  You know, for this “new” body armor.  You know, the armor that a 7.62 mm NATO round can penetrate, i.e., the ESAPI plate.

But the ESAPI plate can’t withstand a 7.62 mm NATO round right now, and this is nothing new.  So let’s change the subject and talk about Gen. Scales and his paid advocacy of H&K.  And just think of all of those dead soldiers and the “new” body armor worn by the enemy (which isn’t the ESAPI plate, so it makes no sense to invoke that if he’s talking about the enemy).  So give us more money.  Just because.  And shut up.  And if you don’t, you’re not patriotic.

Ignore Scales on the 5.56 mm rifle, and the fact that we want to buy it too even though we’re in front of you talking about the 7.62 mm rifle.  He hasn’t been briefed on what we’re going to say, because neither have we.  We have absolutely no idea what to say to you except give us more money.  Because shut up.  We’ll figure out what to do with it.  And ignore the fact that the Army no longer teaches soldiers how to shoot.


Comments

  1. On May 29, 2017 at 9:47 pm, Jack said:

    Former soldier turned reporter Michael Yon reports that Ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey agrees with you.

    “A heavier, larger caliber infantry rifle round will WEIGH MORE. The only thing a dismounted infantry soldier cares about is carrying AMMUNITION, WATER, BATTERIES, AND BODY ARMOR in that order.

    Most infantry rifle engagements are reasonably short range. In particular fighting in urban areas or jungles or at night or when we conduct final assaults. If the enemy force is 600-900 meters away you engage with M240 machine guns or company 60 mm mortars or the Javelin missile —which will actually lock on the hot barrel of a Taliban machine gun.

    […]The bottom line is that our infantry soldiers are incredibly well equipped with modern weapons and night vision goggles and cold weather clothing and protective body armor and commo systems.

    We have an excellent sniper weapon in 7.62 mm at squad level.
    In my experience we do not need a heavier, larger caliber infantry weapon.”

    Read the whole thing: https://www.facebook.com/MichaelYonFanPage/posts/10154644275910665:0

  2. On May 30, 2017 at 9:38 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Michael Yon is a friend. Thanks for supplying link. I don’t have a Facebook account but for those who do they can visit it.

    To be fair, I would be willing to listen to a case for making 7.62 mm mandatory and ubiquitous. They haven’t made it, they aren’t making it, and they have no intention of making it. Because they can’t.

    That’s my point. All of this above is “randomizing” and “stream of thought” testimony trying to get more money. Follow the $$$$$$$.

  3. On May 30, 2017 at 5:51 pm, Randolph Scott said:

    “Follow the $$$$$$$”
    This is the ‘reason’ for almost everything in world right now. This creep just want money from the taxpayers. Plain and simple ‘mic complex’ that Eisenhower warned us of.

  4. On May 31, 2017 at 10:56 am, Tommy said:

    BTW the SAPI plate (no longer US standard) did protect against 7.62mm M80 ball, while ESAPI protects against .30 cal AP. Si the new “requirement” is already outdated by armor improvements. The answer is hits in non protected areas.

  5. On May 31, 2017 at 5:52 pm, DAN III said:

    ” The infantry needs a new 7.62mm rifle.” Like hell they do.

    The military-industrial complex rears it’s ugly, retired flag officer lobbyist head AGAIN ! The alleged need to rearm our new found combat arms “warrriors”, Susie Rottencrotch and Tommy Transvestite, with 7.62mm long arms is no different than the asinine and political decision to clothe Army troops with that crap UCP camo.

  6. On June 2, 2017 at 8:18 am, Ned said:

    “However, the M4 would require a new barrel, bolt carrier group, buffer system in addition to a new lower receiver to shoot 7.62mm ammo, experts maintain.”

    Um, so like, a new rife, or something.

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