The US Marine Corps are working with the US Army to find a replacement for the 5.56x45mm ammunition currently available. The Army, has for some time been arguing that even the 5.56x45mm Enhanced Performance Round is insufficient to combat emerging threats.
The Marine Corps, however, have not voiced the same concerns, indeed they even recently adapted the 5.56x45mm M27 to the designated marksman role, as the M38, rather than a 7.62x51mm chambered rifle. The Corps has also opted to continue purchasing the M27 to equip Marine riflemen. However, it seems the Corps is now ready to agree with the Army.
According to Military.com Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, said: “We are working with the Army; we have looked at the 6.5mm Creedmoor with the Army and [Special Operations Command].” Shrader went on to say that “We [Marine Corps Systems Command] are lockstep with them looking at a new round.”
This would suggest that the Marine Corps is working with the US Army to shape the parameters of the Armys Next Generation Squad Weapon System and its ammunition. However, Shrader could not confirm if this ‘lockstep’ cooperation would mean that the Corps would be adopting any new weapon developed.
Late last year the army briefly sought to develop an Interim Combat Service Rifle, chambered in 7.62x51mm, but this program was quickly abandoned in favour of developing a Next Generation Squad Weapon System to eventually replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and the M4 Carbine.
The Army recently released a Prototype Opportunity Notice for potential industry partners to develop Next Generation Squad Automatic Rifle prototypes. The Army hopes the NGSAR, the first iteration of the NGSWS, will “combine the firepower and range of a machine gun with the precision and ergonomics of a rifle, yielding capability improvements in accuracy, range, and lethality.” It remains to be seen how the Marine Corps will shape the development of the NGSWS and if they will adopt any weapon developed from it.
’Marines Working with the Army on 5.56mm Rifle Round Replacement’, Military.com, retrieved 12/04/18, from source