SOCOM Orders More MK46 and MK48 Light Machine Guns

    Mk46 Ranger

    A U.S. Army Ranger, assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, provides security with an MK46 machine gun during task force training on Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., Jan. 22, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Steven Hitchcock/DoD)

    US Special Operations Command has ordered more light machine guns from FN Herstal. The Department of Defense has announced the award of an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to FN for an undisclosed number of MK46 and MK48 light machine guns for US SOCOM.

    The $13.5 million contract was awarded on 31st August, and along with the guns includes spare parts and engineering support services. The contract was awarded on behalf of Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division. The MK46 is the 5.56x45mm SOCOM variant of the M249 (or FN Minimi) which has been significantly lightened (weighing just over 15 lbs) and is belt fed only. The Mk48 is SOCOM’s upscaled 7.62x51mm (Maximi) variant of the M249 (FN Minimi). The MK48 Mod 1 has a 19.75 in barrel and a fully adjustable buttstock.


    Senior Airman Adam Worcester, security forces airman attached to Laghman Provincial Reconstruction Team, clears the MK48 machine gun while practicing at the off-base firing range near Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam Aug. 2011 (Ryan Crane/DoD)

    Here’s the Department of Defense’s procurement announcement in full:

    FN America LLC, Columbia, South Carolina, is awarded a $13,450,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the production of MK46 and MK48 light machine guns, spare parts and engineering services in support of U.S. Special Operations Command.  Work will be performed in Columbia, South Carolina (85 percent); and Herstal, Belgium (15 percent), and is expected to be completed by August 2023.  Fiscal 2017 and 2018 defense procurement; fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance (Defense) funding in the amount of $1,242,235 will be obligated at time of award and will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured in accordance with 10 U.S. Code 2304(c)(1) (only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements). The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, Crane, Indiana, is the contracting activity (N00164-18-D-JN49).

    the work on the contract will be carried out in both the US, in FN America’s Columbia South Carolina factory, and in Belgium. The contract is set to be fulfilled by August 2023.


    Matthew Moss

    _________________________________________________________________________ – Managing Editor – Managing Editor

    Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.

    Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.

    Reach Matt at: [email protected]