FN America brought some of the best new tech to SHOT Show last month, including a new weapon system developed for the "Irregular Warfare Technology Support Directorate." 

Built around a new 6.5x43mm Lightweight Intermediate Caliber Cartridge, or LICC (lick?), that the company says delivers 7.62 NATO performance in a 5.56-sized package, FN's new Individual Weapon System was developed for the IWTSD, a government office that supports the U.S. special operations community. Originally formed in 1999 as the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, for those curious, the "IWTSD Identifies and develops capabilities for DOD and Interagency customers to conduct Irregular Warfare against all adversaries, including Great Power competitors and non-state actors." 

The 6.5x43mm was developed by the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in partnership with IWTSD and was originally dubbed the .264 USA back in 2014 while the LICC designation was in use by 2016. Awarded a contract in 2019 to further develop the concept and a weapon platform to use it, FN delivered prototyped 6.5x43mm Individual Weapon Systems to the government for testing last summer. 
 

F 6.5x43mm Lightweight Intermediate Caliber Cartridge
FN optimized the round for practical use and had examples on hand at SHOT Show, seen here with 103-grain bullets loaded. Would be interesting to do the math on that ballistic coefficient. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
FN Individual Weapon System chambered in the 6.5x43mm Lightweight Intermediate Caliber Cartridge
The IWS is a fully-ambi piston gun rather than using direct gas impingement like the M4 series. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
FN Individual Weapon System chambered in the 6.5x43mm Lightweight Intermediate Caliber Cartridge
Reps told us it will be offered in three different variants ranging from an 11-inch CQB carbine to a more full-length 18.5-inch marksman rifle. It feeds from a 25-round polymer mag. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)
FN Individual Weapon System chambered in the 6.5x43mm Lightweight Intermediate Caliber Cartridge
Like the company's SCAR series, the IWS uses a monolithic upper. (Photo: FN America)


The rifle platform was developed at FN's South Carolina plant, a facility originally established in 1981 to produce the M240 medium machine gun for the U.S. military. 

FN has also chambered some of its new EVOLYS series of ultralight light machine guns in 6.5x43mm. 
 

FN EVOYLS machine gun chambered in the 6.5x43mm Lightweight Intermediate Caliber Cartridge
Note the belted 6.43x43. (Photo: FN America)


While FN wouldn't take the rifle or ammo out of the case for us to look at closer, and laughed when we asked about getting some shots of the internals, it was nice to get a peek at what is under the curtain for the near future when it comes to small arms.

Banner image: The new FN 6.5x43mm Individual Weapon System. (Photo: FN America)

revolver barrel loading graphic

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