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US Army delays next-generation infantry weapons

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US Army delays next-generation infantry weapons

The US Army has again delayed the procurement of its future infantry weapons, this time for more than five years, and is working to field two interim guns in the meantime.

This is only the latest in a series of delays to the Objective Infantry Combat Weapon (OICW) Increment 1, which was intended to be a family of four guns that would replace the M4 carbine, M16 assault rifle, M249 light machine gun and some M9 pistols in use with the army.

The Department of Defense Inspector General's office has long held reservations about the programme and issued a report in 2005 questioning whether the army's plans for the OICW actually represented an improvement over current systems.

Further confusing the matter is the fact that the army has drafted formal requests for proposals for a non-developmental carbine and a light machine gun. Special Operations Command has also developed a requirement for a new service pistol and army and US Marine Corps officials are believed to be interested in the gun, though it remains to be seen who will lead the effort, said one industry official.

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