During a briefing earlier this week at the NDIA Armaments Congerence in Fredericksburg, Virginia, COL Samuel Ashley, the DCS G8 for the US Army Special Operations Command, discussed a current initiative to identify a Precision Intermediate Caliber ammunition from within the 6.5mm family.
In this joint effort between USASOC and PEO Soldier’s PM for Soldier Weapons, they will test 23 different cartridges in 6.5mm Creedmoor and .260 Remington later this month, using the Army’s 2000m Doppler RADAR equipped range, at the nearby Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Based on this research, they will conduct a user evaluation of the selected cartridge, in October.
This is a very fast paced effort which aims to identify a 6.5mm family cartridge for integration into a USASOC requirement for a new semiautomatic sniper weapon. It will also give others a leg up in identifying a viable option for an intermediate caliber.
USSOCOM briefer, LTC Mark Owens, PM for Ammo, Weapons and Visual Augmentation Systems supports the efforts of SOF components like USASOC, and added some additional insight into where the ammunition selected from the USASOC study might go. He mentioned that in FY18 we should see the development of a 6.5mm Assault Machine Gun which would result in the fielding, soon thereafter, of an Intermediate Caliber Assault Machine Gun.
The cartridge decision will also lead to the fielding of an Intermediate Caliber Sniper Rifle/Carbine in the years FY19-23.