Long live to the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW). Despite the ongoing projects to replace it with new weapons in different calibers, just a few days ago FN America announced that the company has been awarded a firm-fixed-price contract to supply the US Army with M249 Squad Automatic Weapons. The contract is expected to be completed by 2025.
An American adaptation of the Belgian FN Minimi light machine gun, the 5.56mm FN M249 SAW entered US Army service in 1984, and has been in use throughout the US military since 1986. It is currently in service in more than 30 countries globally.
As stated by the company in a press release, “FN has been the sole source manufacturer of the 5.56-chambered belt-fed lightweight machine gun. Designed for front line applications delivering crucial support at the infantry squad/fire team level, the FN M249 SAW provides accurate fire from a highly maneuverable light machine gun. The ergonomic polymer buttstock contains a hydraulic buffer that allows SAW gunners to maintain a high rate of fire with accuracy and effect.”
M249, a proven design
More than this, FN reminds us that the company “has been one of the largest suppliers of small arms to the US military. In addition to the M249 and its variants, the company currently holds contracts for the FN M240 medium machine gun and its variants; the FN MK 46, MK 48, MK 17 and MK 20 SSR for USSOCOM, and various other contracts.”
“We are honored to continue our dedication as a critical partner to the US military and pleased to announce this latest Army contract award for the FN M249 SAW, a flagship design for FN, in service for more than 30 years. The proven design has served the US military, reliably and without fail,” said Mark Cherpes, President and CEO for FN America, LLC.”
As all the previous SAWs, the new machine guns will be manufactured at FN's production facility in Columbia, South Carolina.