The General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products Division (GDATP), engaged in the development of infantry small arms and light weapon systems, has always been ready in quickly analyzing, and steadily providing a quick and reliable response to, all warfighters' needs. The latest NDIA Joint Armaments Conference, Exhibition & Firing Demonstration, held in Seattle (WA) last May, 15-17, saw GDATP provide another successful response to the overwhelming request by the operators deployed in the Afghan theater of operations for a squad/section automatic weapon featuring improved range, with the ability to effectively engage targets well beyond one Kilometer in distance (a threshold easily encountered in the mountains and plains of central Asia), while maintaining acceptable stopping power and remaining light and easy to carry, so to result handy to those infantry patrols that often operate on foot and can't rely upon the fire support provided on .50-cal. heavy machineguns which, being mounted on HMMWV-type vehicles and such, may be impossible to carry up on the Afghan mountain footpaths. Said response has been named the “Lightweight Medium Machinegun”: LWMMG.
The General Dynamicsʼ Lightweight Medium Machinegun, developed in the short timespan of less than one year, is a recoil-operated general-purposes machinegun based on a proprietary working systems, whose details have not been disclosed for OpSec but which is not (as has been speculated in its early development phases) based in any way on the already-issued FN MAG/M240-B GPMG. The LWMMG has been thoroughly redesigned, departing from most existing squad support weapons in terms of ease of use and ergonomics, featuring a collapsible stock, ambidextrous controls and a fire selector that doubles as manual safety and allows both semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. The weapon fully deserves its denomination of “Lightweight Medium Machinegun” as the GDATP engineering team has managed, through the use of high-tech metal alloys and polymers in its construction, to keep the overall weight of the weapon under 24 lbs (making it lighter than an M240-B). Still, the LWMMG is a true belt-fed powerhorse chambered for the unusual .338-Norma Magnum caliber, whose range and stopping power greatly outperforms the more commonly used 7,62x51mm-NATO.
Featuring a 24-inches barrel on an overall lenght of 42 inches, the LWMMG will fire 300 grs. bullets at a maximum range of 6,170 yards and a maximum effective range of 1,860 yards, meaning that it will be capable of puncturing a lightly-armored vehicle or a Level III body armor at well over 1 Kilometer in distance, effectively bridging the gap between squad support weapons and heavy machineguns. Operating at a relatively low cyclic rate of 500 rounds per minute, it will remain controllable and allow the operator to save ammunition and prevent barrel overheating (the barrel itself however features a quick change system). The LWMMG is shipped without any kind of iron sights, featuring instead a full 12:00 MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail for optics and BUIS, and shorter rails at 03:00, 06:00 and 09:00 on the polymer handguard for a bipod and other accessories. The system remains compatible with M192 tripods for stationary firing, as well as with vehicle interfaces.