DARPA asked TRW for a rifle that would solve these continuing problems. The new weapon had to be simple to build and easy to use and must resist corrosion.
The gun also had to have “semi-permanent solid film lubrication.” Solid film lubes are effectively painted-on … and only require periodic touch-ups.
By contrast, soldiers had to regularly grease up their M-16s. Dirt, sand and other debris could cling to the lubricant and gum up the rifle.
The new LMR also had to be accurate, even when firing on full-automatic. Reports from Vietnam suggested soldiers were not shooting accurately, even if the exact reasons were unclear.
They were, of course, solving the wrong problem. It was far easier to simply fix the M16 issues. Still, I do wonder if concepts from the prototypes could be adapted into modern maintenance free survival-type semi-automatic rifles.
Thanks to Fred for the tip.