FN America Wins Contract To Build M240 Machine Guns For US Army

Ongoing demand for machine guns has resulted in the US Army taking bids for production of M240 machine guns. Most recently, FN America has won a contract to produce the weapons:


(McLean, VA – January 5, 2015) FN America announced today that it has received a new indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract from the Department of the Army to build M240 B, C, D and H machine guns and spare receivers for the U.S. Army. The contract, awarded on December 9, 2014, includes four one-year ordering periods with a total value not to exceed $84.6 million.

“We are pleased that FN America has been selected to produce the M240 family of machine guns for the U.S. Army,” said Mark Cherpes, FN America President and CEO. “Since 1989, FN has produced more than two million firearms for the U.S. military at our Columbia, SC manufacturing facility. We are extremely proud of the high quality and reliable firearms we build for our service men and women and look forward to continuing this tradition.”

In addition to the M240 family of machine guns, FN America also produces M4/M4A1 carbines, M16 rifles, MK19 grenade machine guns, M249 SAWs and the MK46 and MK48 machine guns.

The original M240 was adopted in the late 1970s as a mounted weapon to replace the problematic short-action M73 and M219 7.62mm and M85 .50 caliber machine guns. The M240B was selected in the 1990s to replace the M60 machine gun in US Army service. The M240C is a specialized coaxial model with right-hand feeding for the LAV-25 and Bradley, while the M240D and H are aircraft machine guns.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • Raven

    What a shock.

    • LCON

      Hay HK makes them for the British and Colt has made them for the Army in the past

      • FN licensed quite a few countries to produce the MAG58 for their own use. I suspect that HK’s build fell under the UK MoD’s license. Colt’s contract of course fell under the US DOD’s license. Unfortunately, Colt’s production of the M240-series has been problematic.

        • LCON

          yeah the brits like the US bought the Technical data package and then design there own and contract out production.

  • mosinman

    i wonder if there ever will be a replacement for the M240

    • Anonymoose

      I wonder if there will ever be a replacement for the M4 or the M9. Hell, there are still a lot of M16A2s in service, and the Army doesn’t seem to be dumping their M16A4s or basic M4s (not M4A1s) just yet.

      • Sam Schifo

        I have a buddy who was in the USAF a few years ago. When he got to his base in Korea they handed him an M16A1.

        • Awesome!

        • DiverEngrSL17K

          And that rifle goes back a LONG way, too. I was issued the M16A1 in the late 70’s, and even then it had been in service for a decade or more.

        • Phil Hsueh

          An old roommate of mine from years ago said the same thing but he also said that in case of war they also had A2s sitting in the armory, but for everything else, including qual, they used the A1.

    • n0truscotsman

      Maybe a telescopic case GPMG if I was going to guess. That would be interesting.
      The FN MAG has seen many long decades of service for a reason. It works.

  • Anonymoose

    The D and H aren’t “aircraft guns.” They’re flexible guns. Most Abrams that I’ve seen have a C in the turret and a D or G with spade grips on top. The G is being replaced by the B in the Marine Corps, and I’m not sure whatever happened to the L. The L is better for sustained fire than the Mk48, but the guys who actually have to carry it seem to prefer the Mk48 from some field reports I read. Personally, I think they might as well drop the whole 240 and 5.56 M249 platforms and go with the Mk48 or Minimi Mk3 in 7.62 for a light machinegun/SAW and the LWMMG for dedicated machinegun teams and mounts where a 7.62 would usually be used. The LWMMG is actually lighter than the 240B iirc.

    • CommonSense23

      240L is still designed for fire from a bipod. While the MK48 is a far more capable shoulder fired weapon used by one man.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Good points about product derivatives and improvements to an already highly-capable base platform, i.e., the MAG58 / M240. I find this to be in agreement with Anonymoose’s prior comment. There is certainly much to be said for expanding the envelope and improving upon an already proven platform in the name of progress and efficiency in a given weapon system on the battlefield so that our soldiers will have the best that we can afford to give them. It is the very least we could do if we expect them to go in harm’s way on our collective behalf as a nation.

        Having said that, I do hope you will forgive an old soldier for being still enamored of the durability and outright versatility of the original MAG58, weight and all, even though this same individual truly appreciates modern weapons technology for what it provides ( i own several modern weapons with the latest and greatest gear and accessories, but still have an eye for the wonderful, simple, straightforward and unfettered functionality of a basic firearm ).

    • whskee

      The L models aren’t mountable from the word my other team passed. Something about the mount area cracking where the forward pin is inserted. We have 48’s and love them, they’ve got a faster fire rate than the 240B’s we have. We use the 48’s for fire teams, and leave the 240’s on mounts. I still wouldn’t give up the 240’s though, they’re what I consider an apocalypse gun. I almost never need to fix them, they just run no matter what abuse we put them through.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        Glad you pointed this out — I had the same experience with the M240’s immediate predecessor, the MAG58.

    • Anonymoose

      I will admit that the MAG/M240 is pretty much indestructible, while the Minimi-derivatives aren’t so much.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Interesting commentary, Anonymoose, in the second half of your article! Certainly a course of action to be considered in the interests of military equipment, tactical, operational and organizational standardization at that level. There are other variations and combinations to be taken into account in this mix vis-a-vis end user doctrine and requirements, with all their attendant pros and cons. This may be the start of a really interesting discussion and spin-off thread — what do you think?

      • Anonymoose

        I’m not feeling that armchair-general-ish tonight, but maybe when some more news about the LWMMG comes out…

        • DiverEngrSL17K

          I’m looking forward to it — many thanks!

    • The original spade grip variant for armored vehicles was the M240E1. The D and H versions are qualified for helicopter applications. The M240D was adopted by the USAF and US Navy, while the M240H was adopted by the US Army. There is also a M240N variant used on ships and light watercraft by the US Navy.

    • USMC03Vet

      It might be time to reevaluate the benefit of crew served fire suppression due to technology allowing each individual to have their own fire position and ammunition that is light enough to carry. Or perhaps split them into 2 gunners and one ammo man. I dunno but the firepower of have 3 talking guns from a single crew sounds amazeballs.

    • You’re correct; they are used elsewhere. However, they are aircraft guns, as they are often mounted to helicopters.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    A little ironic that FN, the very company that designed and manufactured the original MAG58 7.62mm GPMG upon which all the multiple derivatives in U.S. service ( including every variant of the M240 ), are based, should come full circle to win the next large M240 MG contract after all the convoluted twists and turns of the military firearms acquisition process — and against FN’s own erstwhile licencees too.

    • Despite the large number of MAG58 licensees, you have to factor in how many have the capability to manufacture the M240 inside the US. That cuts the list of potential bidders down dramatically.

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        A very good point, Daniel. Definitely an important part of an otherwise complex and dynamic equation, competitive bidding and large-scale military acquisition processes being what they are.

        • Other than Colt, the only folks who would really have a chance would be Barrett, US Ordnance, Manroy Defense, and General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (Saco). US Ordnance actually offers M240 variants, and Barrett has their modified M240LW. However, heaven only knows if either has the production capacity to undercut FN Manufacturing. The British parent of Manroy Defense offers L7 variants, but one wonders if the US side is set up to actually make them. The purchase of Manroy Defense by the reorganized Sabre Defence Industries, Inc. might have thrown a wrench in that arrangement too. General Dynamics isn’t currently set up to produce the M240, but they certainly could do it if they desired.

  • whskee

    I’ve seen hundreds of M240 B/N models, but never one built by anyone other than FN. Anyone seen any or had any experience’s? I’m curious if they are as well built, because I very rarely see them go down other than exceeding service round count. We were CRANE authorized to run ours out to 50k rounds vice 25k which is standard, and they were making it to 50k with almost no issues other than minor things like breaking an extractor spring or burning out a barrel.

  • Best GPMG ever.


    • Rich Guy

      Behind the PKM 😛

      • Naw

        • DiverEngrSL17K

          The PKM and MAG58 are very close in terms of overall performance, durability and reliability. Other than that, the biggest difference is in weight, the PKM being approximately 6 pounds or so lighter than the MAG58. On the other hand, the MAG58 uses a very widely available standard cartridge — as in very widely adopted by allied and other user nations, Then again, the 7.62mm x 54R isn’t exactly a rare cartridge, either.

          Overall, if I were forced to choose between the two, I would have to pick the PKM, and then only by the smallest of margins. I also respect the fact that there are others who would prefer the MAG58 for their own reasons. In actual practice, one simply cannot go wrong with either weapon, and I would be perfectly happy with either.

  • LCON

    Titanium Receivers are expensive and have a higher hardness, If they are mounted to a vehicle mount the recoil impulse can start damaging the gun. A move the the M240LW based on the Barrett modification might be doable though

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Lance, I’m not exactly sure if the M-60, even in it’s latest and greatest iterations, is a better weapon. In terms of overall performance, I honestly don’t think it is. The higher rates of fire have only come about with the newer models. However, it is still an excellent GPMG and the new versions have pretty much sorted out the problems that plagued the original model. I may prefer the PKM and MAG58, but I’d still trust my life to the newer M-60’s if push comes to shove. Hard to go wrong with an improved version of a basically proven design ( in spite of the latter’s apparent faults ). The other nice thing about the M-60 is it’s straight-line design, which helps to make it more controllable when firing off the tripod or bipod.

  • Squirreltakular

    Is this saying that FNH lost the contract to FN America? Every 240 I’ve seen was already made by FN…

    • FN America is the current business name for FNH USA and FN Manufacturing.

      • Squirreltakular

        Right, as I suspected. But this is a recent article. Every 240 I’ve seen going back 8 years was made by FNH. There’s another guy down below asking the same question: Who did FN beat out to win this current contract?

        • Colt won a M240 contract a couple of years ago, but it has been giving them fits.

          • Squirreltakular

            Okay. The guys at Colt must be tearing their hair out. Didn’t FN win the contact for the M4 as well?

          • Yes, FN has the current M4 contract.

  • LTC Dave Lutz had a hand in that before he retired from the USMC and went to Knight’s Armament..