General Dynamics unveiled their new lightweight medium machine gun in .338 Norma Magnum at the 2012 Joint Armaments Conference in Seattle yesterday. It is intended to bridge the gap between the 7.62×51 and the .50 BMG cartridges.
More pictures of the LWMMG taken at the Joint Armaments Conference by the GearScout blog can be found here.
From the General Dynamics Armaments and Technical Products press release:
Identifying an unmet warfighter need, General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products conducted its own research and development program to develop the LWMMG in just over one year. The weapon is designed for low-cost production and for maximum effectiveness at the small unit level, where weight and lethality are decisive factors.
“The LWMMG is an affordable weapon that closes a current operational gap, providing .50 caliber-like firepower in range and effect at the same weight and size of currently fielded 7.62mm machine guns,” said Steve Elgin, vice president and general manager of armament systems for General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products. “Weighing in at 24 pounds and featuring a fully collapsible stock, the LWMMG offers superior mobility and portability in both mounted and dismounted operations.”
General Dynamics’ LWMMG also offers a distinct advantage in both extended and close-in fighting by using the highly efficient .338 Norma Magnum cartridge for increased accuracy and lethality out to 1,700 meters, a distance currently gapped in the operational capabilities of warfighters.
“By employing the larger .338 NM round, the LWMMG delivers twice the range and dramatically increases lethality above the 7.62 round,” said Elgin. “In addition, the LWMMG goes beyond providing suppressive fire and gives warfighters the ability to attack point targets at significantly extended ranges.”
The LWMMG has a firing rate of 500 rounds per minute, a maximum range of 5,642 meters, and is equipped with quick-change barrel technology. In addition to use by dismounted infantry and on ground vehicles, the weapon can be used as the armament system aboard helicopters and littoral craft, providing greater range and effectiveness for those platforms.
“The LWMMG is a well-designed machine gun ideally suited to provide long-range lethality to U.S. and allied forces,” Elgin said.
According to the fact sheet put out by GDATP, one interesting feature of this new machine gun is its recoil mitigation system which makes shooting the .338 Norma Magnum feel like shooting the lighter weight 7.62 round.
The Armaments and Technical Products Division is headquartered in Charlotte, NC. However, the new LWMMG is actually made in Saco, Maine along with their crew-served machine guns.
Specifications of the new LWMMG are below:
Weight 24 pounds
Length 49 inches
Rate of fire 500 rounds per minute
Ammunition .338 Norma Magnum
Projectile 300gr Sierra HPBT, FMJ, AP
Muzzle Velocity 2,650 feet per second
Barrel Length 24 inches
Max Effective Range 1,860 yards (1,700 meters)
Maximum range 6,170 yards (5,642 meters)
Mount M192 tripod, or various
UPDATE: A comparison of the .338 Lapua and the .338 Norma Magnum can be seen in the picture below. It looks to me that the Norma Magnum with its longer bullet should have a better ballistics coefficient.