The US Army is facing new issues related to the brand new Sig Sauer MCX Spear(officially designated as the XM5), the military can not seem to get enough ammo for the rifle.
When the US Army began its search for an upgrade to the M4A1 a major concern was ammunition, the military wanted an upgrade to 5.56 which has been the standard for over 50 years. The new 6.8mm ammunition was the upgrade the military was looking for, this round is going to pack a bigger punch than both American 5.56 and Russian 7.62. There is one major issue though, the American military has to retool a bunch of process’ in order to get and keep the quantity they need.
As reported in Breaking Defense:
While both the legacy rounds have significant stockpiles built up over the years, getting ammunition levels to where they need to be is a “daunting, dauting indeed,” challenge, Brig. Gen. William M. Boruff, joint program executive officer for armaments and ammunition, said during a media briefing at the Pentagon.
“Current ammunition is such that the availability is almost an afterthought. You go to the supply point, you pick up your ammunition and you go out to the range and you fire your” weapon, Boruff said. “This is because the Army has spent decades refining its process to ensure a sufficient inventory of 5.56 ammunition is available and the industry base is present to continue replenishing on a consistent basis.
“Now consider preparing a new weapon fielding, starting with absolute zero inventory and the industrial base being established,” he continued. “The Army has not introduced a new caliber for about 65 years … Doing so will require extensive coordination with the stakeholders across the enterprise to develop combat and training requirements, production capability as well as budgeting for procurement.”
Getting the ammunition stockpiles up and running will be a two-handed job, with both Sig Sauer and the Lake City Army Ammunition Plant having to coordinate efforts. Already, Lake City has provided some projectiles for Sig Sauer and the other competitors for testing during the prototype phase, so there is some production already underway. But more investment is needed — and with the competition now complete, work can begin soon, Boruff said.
On the bright side, the Army’s adoption of a new caliber might result in some of its reserves going up for sale to the public. The American ammo shortage might be solved on the consumer side if this occurs, but it might be too early to speculate on this matter as the Army only adopted the new rifle and caliber this week.