The U.S. Army awarded a $78,709,973.29 contract for M249 Squad Automatic Weapons to FN Americaon Sept. 23. The announcement comes at a time when the military branch is testing three 6.8 mm finalist submissions for its Next Generation Squad Weapon (NGSW), including machine-gun variants. Terms of the FN agreement carry a completion date of Sept. 19, 2025.
“We are honored to continue our dedication as a critical partner to the U.S. military and pleased to announce this latest Army contract award for the FN M249 SAW, a flagship design for FN, in service for more than 30 years. The proven design has served the U.S. military, reliably and without fail,” said Mark Cherpes, president and CEO for FN America. “The initial FN M249 shipments depart from our production facility in Columbia, South Carolina, this week, and we look forward to delivering this enduring light machine gun to the great men and women of the U.S. Army.”
Since 1986, the FN M249 SAW has been a mainstay throughout the U.S. military. It is currently in service in more than 30 countries. FN America is the sole source manufacturer of the 5.56 NATO-chambered belt-fed lightweight machine gun, which provides support at the infantry squad/fire team level in a maneuverable light machine gun capable of delivering highly accurate fire. The ergonomic polymer buttstock contains a hydraulic buffer that allows SAW gunners to maintain a high rate of fire.
Despite the combat-proven reliability and performance, the Army’s NGSW program is currently testing only 6.8 mm chambered firearms. The winning system will become standard issue across the military branch. The recent FN America contract, along with another announced the same day, indicates the move will likely be completed after 2025.
On Sept. 23, 2020, Knight’s Armament was awarded a $13,480,110 agreement from the Army for its M110 semi-automatic sniper system and its various M110 configurations. Terms carry a Sept. 25, 2025, completion date. These firearms are chambered in 7.62 NATO.