Friday, November 25, 2022

U.S. Army looks to buy more M249 Squad Automatic Weapons

On Jun. 25, 2018, the U.S. Army Contracting Command posted a notice on the U.S. government’s main contracting website, intends to solicit, negotiate and award a sole source contract for M249 Squad Automatic Weapons (SAW) to FN America, LLC.

According to the notice, the Government intends to award an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity contract with Firm Fixed Price Delivery Orders to FN America LLC, Columbia, SC.

The Government anticipates requiring up to 11,000 M249 SAWs with the contract minimum guarantee of 329 weapons. This contract is intended to deliver SAWs to satisfy Foreign Military Sales and Grant Aid requirements as the need develops.


The SAW is a 5.56mm gas operated, individually portable machine gun capable of delivering a large volume of effective fire to support infantry squad operations.

The weapon can be fired from the shoulder, bipod or tripod mounted machine gun positions. The M249 engages point targets out to 800 meters, firing the improved North Atlantic Treaty Organization standard 5.56mm cartridge. The SAW forms the basis of firepower for the fire team.

The gunner has the option of using 30-round M16 magazines or linked ammunition from pre-loaded 200-round plastic magazines.

According to the, the SAW was developed through an initially Army-led research and development effort and eventually a Joint NDO program in the late 1970s/early 1980s to restore sustained and accurate automatic weapons fire to the fire team and squad. When actually fielded in the mid-1980s, the SAW was issued as a one-for-one replacement for the designated “automatic rifle” (M16A1) in the Fire Team.

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About this Author

Dylan Malyasov
Defense journalist and commentator. Aviation photographer. Dylan leads Defence Blog's coverage of global military news, focusing on engineering and technology across the U.S. defense industry.