The Pentagon announced Tuesday that South Carolina-based FN America has gotten the nod for a contract to keep providing M249 Squad Automatic Weapons to U.S. Soldiers.
The U.S. Army Contracting Command in Newark, New Jersey, awarded a $78,709,973 firm-fixed-price contract to FN for new SAWs with an estimated completion date of Sept. 19, 2025.
Long a staple of the globally-recognized firearms maker, FN introduced the Minimi–short for the French “Mini Mitrailleuse” or "mini machine gun"– in 1974 and it has since gone on to be adopted by more than 70 countries. The U.S. Army tapped the 5.56 NATO-caliber light machine gun for use in 1982 as part of the post-Vietnam reboot during the chilliest days of the Cold War and it remains in widespread issue at the squad-level in the Army and National Guard as the M249 along with specialized variants like the Mk 46 and 7.62 NATO-caliber Mk 48.
The latest multi-million dollar SAW order comes just five months after the Army issued a large contract to FN for more M4/M4A1 carbines to be delivered over the next half-decade. This comes while the service is full-speed ahead on an initiative to select a new series of innovative 6.8mm-caliber Next Generation Squad Weapons to phase out its 5.56mm platforms for combat troops. It would seem the Department of the Army is hedging their bets with traditional systems just in case things don't work out like planned such as in past ambitious programs for futuristic small arms.
FN came to South Carolina in 1981 originally to produce the M240 medium machine gun for the U.S. military. A variant of the company’s extremely popular FN MAG 58, the company still makes over 300 M240s in the Palmetto State every month and roughly 500 M4s every day in addition to their commercial production.
We visited FN’s state-of-the-art factory in Columbia, South Carolina last fall to see how they craft the “World’s most battle-proven firearms.” Check that out, below.