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The Colt IAR6940 (Infantry Automatic Rifle)

By Christopher R. Bartocci

On 27 March 2008, the U.S. Marine Corps submitted a Purchase Description for the Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR) to the industry. The Marines were seeking designs which would fit very specific parameters. The purpose of the IAR is to replace the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) with an automatic rifle easily manned by a single infantry marine that has emphasis on light weight and portability in order to maximize dismounted maneuverability. The feelings throughout the Marine infantry community are mixed on the concept of the IAR. Some feel the M249 is the center of the unit’s firepower and the belt fed capability is essential to get out heavy volumes of firepower. Others believe a lighter, more reliable magazine-fed weapon will increase maneuverability, accuracy and mobility. Having a magazine fed weapon utilizing the proven M16/M4 magazine would also create better commonality and reliability in the IAR. The magazine feed system on the SAW has been mediocre at best in the area of reliability.

The Marines specified the kit which would accompany the IAR. This included the Matech BUIS (NSN 1005-01-541-1772), Blank Firing Adapter, Grip Pod™ (NSN 1005-01541-1712), three point sling (NSN 8465-01-524-8847), cleaning kit, operators manual and sufficient magazines to hold 300 rounds of 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition.

Performance characteristics including the IAR must weigh less than 12.5 pounds with the Grip Pod™ and BUIS attached. The IAR shall be less than 40 inches in length and demonstrate less than 4 MOA dispersion in automatic fire. Precision automatic fire is required and to demonstrate less than 8 MOA with 5 round bursts. The probability of hit should be a minimum of 2 rounds from a 5 round burst onto an “E” silhouette at 50 meters 70% of the time within 3 seconds of target exposure. The rate of fire of the IAR must be capable of 36 rounds per minute for 16 minutes and 40 seconds without a barrel change or cook-off of the round in the chamber or magazine. The weapon is to have both semi and fully automatic modes of fire and be finished...


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