Army: A More Lethal Force

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In this Paper is going to discuss why the Army is going to convert the M4A1 from the 5.56×45 Cartridge or also known as the 5.56 Nato round to the 6.8mm cartridge. The Army is looking for A more lethal cartridge capable of effectively engaging the enemy past 300 meters. For years Combat troops across the ranks have vocally voiced their opinions on the current cartridge.

Many have stated the round is undersized to effectively engage the enemy past 300 meters. So The Army is calling upon weapon manufactures to revise the current M4A1 Carbine and the SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon). “It is designed to be the centerpiece of a more lethal fighting Force as ground combat troops see evolutions in their training and equipping take place more Rapidly than they’ve seen in decades.” (South 2018) Taking in consideration of many factors Including other countries Forces and the advancement of body Armor.

To remain the most lethal Army in history the Army needs to adapt to the ever changing environment. A More Lethal Force The Army is looking to make ground forces more lethal. By retiring a work horse that has Been in service for 58 years since the beginning of the Vietnam War. For years soldiers have Vocally voiced their concerns with the 5.56×45 round. The Army has finally heard there pleas Especially with the war in Afghanistan with most engagements were around 500 meters. Very Rarely were engagements within 200 meters.

With the world making advances and becoming Stronger and body armor becoming more advanced. It is time to upgrade our arsenal to ensure We can remain lethal in no matter what environment. But with the new round in development They are looking for very specific parameters for the new 6.8mm round. The 5.56 round has been in service for years and seen countless countries and too many Battles to count. But everywhere it fought ground forces have always voiced their frustrations About the iconic cartridge.

The short comings of this round became more relevant in the war in Afghanistan “While the infantryman is ideally suited for combat in Afghanistan, his current Weapons, doctrine, and marksmanship training do not provide a precise, lethal fire capability to 500 meters and are therefore inappropriate,” (Trevithick 2017) the bottom line is the small Round is outgunned and outperforming the needs for combat troops today. Keeping the ground Soldier lethal at extended distances is crucial. Being able to Effectively engage the enemy past 300 meters will change the battlefield.

“This is a weapon that Can go out at ranges that are unknown today and that you can see accurately. (South 2018) The New 6.8mm round if it gets past the prototype stages will provide just that. A lethal ground Soldier capable of engaging enemy targets at a greater distance and punching through modern Body armor at those distances will help shape the battlefields. The Army is finally listening to its troops about and developing a round not seen before An intermediate round between the 5.56 nato and the 7.62×51 cartridge.

They want the round to Perform well in both the M4A1 and SAW platform. ‘You want the engineers that are developing These weapons to be able to optimize both concurrently. If you put the AR out first, then they are Going to optimize that round for the AR; [if] you put out the rifle first, then they are going to Optimize it for the rifle. The round might be too heavy and too big for the rifle, and one might Get you a round that’s not quite enough for an automatic rifle.’ (Cox 2018) Soldiers needed a More diverse and lethal cartridge capable of being effective in close range scenarios as well as Being able to engage enemies at a greater distance.

As well as being able to puncture modern Body armor. With the concept being in the prototype stages. The answer is leaning to an Intermediate cartridge designed both for the M4A1 platform and the SAW this general purpose Cartridge will make the individual Soldier more lethal in all aspects of combat. The new 6.8mm round will be around the world has not seen yet it is an innovating Design.

The only other round similar in production right now is the 6.8 spc. We know the Army Will not adopt this but it is only thing we have to compare it to. They are looking for a bullet Between 110-130 gr bullet that is going to push the envelope of design and me 20 percent faster Than the 6.8 spc. This is insane this means the round is going to be going around 3000fps Depending on bullet weight. Must be able to fit the basic combat load of 210 rounds for the M4A1 and the SAW.

One thing is certain the Army is going to replace the current cartridge the 5.56 cartridge To a more lethal round. Making the combat Soldier more effective and lethal at greater distances And keeping the weight down for easy mobility. This lethal round will innovate a desired change To the current platforms and bridge a gap for Soldiers to remain lethal at extended distances.


  1. South, T. (2018) More than a rifle: How a new 6.8mm round, advanced optics will make soldiers, Marines a lot deadlier
  2. Trevithick, J (2017) the Army Is Once Again Looking to Replace the 5.56mm Cartridge
  3. Cox, M (2018) Inside The Army’s Pursuit Of A High-Tech 6.8mm Round

Cite this paper

Army: A More Lethal Force. (2021, Aug 17). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/army-a-more-lethal-force/

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