This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
We have already seen the 6.5mm CT Carbine prototype brought out by Textron for the 2017 Association of the United States Army annual meeting, but TFB also got an up close and personal look at Textron’s cased telescoped machine guns. Textron has two different cased telescoped belt fed weapons in testing right now: A 5.56mm CT light machine gun, and a 7.62mm CT medium or general purpose machine gun.
Textron’s 7.62mm CT Medium Machine Gun, below:
According to Textron, the 5.56mm machine gun weighs around 10 pounds, unloaded, while the larger 7.62mm machine gun weighs about 14.5 pounds unloaded. According to program officer Kori Phillips in an interview conducted for TFB, this light weight was achieved through the use of finite element analysis (FEA): “The weapon is as weight efficient as any weapon is going to be; you can make it thicker or sturdier, you can add material to it for drop testing and field testing and that kind of stuff. As far as the function of the weapon goes, it’s bare-bones, as light as it can possibly be.” In addition to being designed via FEA, the major components of both machine guns were produced using sintered metal 3D printing, a process evident in the surface of the 7.62mm MG’s receiver, shown below:
Many of our readers asked why the 7.62mm CT medium machine gun was chambered for a 7.62mm round as opposed to the 6.5mm CT round. The answer is that the external dimensions of the cylindrically-shaped 7.62mm and 6.5mm CT rounds are the same, so the medium machine gun can be chambered for either round with a simple barrel swap. Currently, testing is ongoing with 7.62mm due to the availability of projectiles in that caliber, and as a baseline for comparison against the M240. The 6.5mm round is currently its own test bed, designed primarily as a demonstrator to illustrate the capability of CT ammunition when combined with lightweight projectiles. If a low drag CT round were adopted, it would in theory be re-optimized for the latest requirements, whatever those ended up being.
Textron’s 5.56mm CT Light Machine Gun, below: