The US Army has been talking about replacing the venerable M249 Squad Automatic Weapon — more affectionately known as the SAW — for years. But they’ve continually found that it’s awfully hard to replace a firearm as durable, proven, effective and versatile as the 5.56 NATO M249, a gun that’s been in hard use since the Reagan administration.
It seems the Army just can’t seem to bring itself to quit the SAW and they’ve just signed a new contract with FN America to keep the light machine guns coming for at least another five years.
From FN America:
FN America, LLC is pleased to announce that the company has been awarded a firm-fixed-price contract to supply the U.S. Army with M249 Squad Automatic Weapons, also known as the M249 SAW. The contract is expected to be completed by 2025.
The FN M249 SAW has been a mainstay throughout the U.S. military since 1986 and is currently in service in more than 30 countries globally. FN has been the sole source manufacturer of the 5.56-chambered belt-fed lightweight machine gun. Designed for front line applications delivering crucial support at the infantry squad/fire team level, the FN M249 SAW provides highly accurate fire from a highly maneuverable light machine gun. The ergonomic polymer buttstock contains a hydraulic buffer that allows SAW gunners to maintain a high rate of fire with accuracy and effect.
“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, LLC. “We look forward to building these machine guns at our production facility in Columbia, South Carolina.”
Throughout its history, FN has been one of the largest suppliers of small arms to the U.S. military. In addition to the M249 and its variants, the company currently holds contracts for the FN M240 medium machine gun and its variants; the FN MK 46, MK 48, MK 17 and MK 20 SSR for USSOCOM, and various other contracts.
For more information about FN’s military product line or current U.S. military contracts, please visit www.fnamerica.com.