Marine Corps to Pay $ 10 Million for .50 Caliber Light Polymer Ammunition

The Marine Corps awarded a $ 10 million contract for new .50 caliber lightweight polymer ammunition for the M2 Browning machine gun, a staple of the military arsenal since World War II.

The contract was awarded Thursday to MAC LLC, a company based in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, according to a press release from the Marine Corps.

The company is expected to supply the Marine Corps with approximately 2.4 million rounds over the next two years.

The new ammunition will use a lightweight polymer to replace the brass in the cartridges as well as the metal in the ammo boxes used to transport the bullets.

The company will also use nylon to replace traditional metal links between bullets, which will result in a weight reduction of about 20 pounds per box of ammunition, the Marine Corps Times previously reported.

The reduced weight will allow the Marines to carry more ammunition into combat, the statement said.

“When we go to war, we need more ammunition to defeat our adversaries,” Lt. Col. Bill Lanham, Marine Corps Systems Command deputy program manager for ammunition, said in the statement. “Polymer ammunition gives Marines the ability to carry more ammunition or trade in equipment that is important to carry in combat.”

The fact that the Marines are carrying more ammunition will have side effects on mission planning that could ultimately save lives, the statement said.

“When we reduce the weight of ammunition, we also reduce the number of vehicles in a convoy, the amount of funding and the number of Marines we put at risk,” said John Carpenter, deputy director of the engineering program with PM. Ammunition. .

The new polymer ammunition was to have the same ballistic requirements and be just as deadly as the M33 brass projectile currently in use by the Marine Corps.

The press release suggests that beyond simply matching the performance of old cartridges, the new polymer cartridges will have qualities that will allow prolonged use of “Ma Deuce”.

The plastic-like material absorbs heat much better than brass, slowing the rate at which the machine gun barrel heats up, allowing the weapon to fire in longer bursts before worrying about overheating, according to the communicated.

The Marine Corps will receive the first small batches of polymer cartridges in late 2020 and through 2021, the statement said.

The Corps estimates that the shells will begin to hit the fleet in 2022.

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