Last Thursday Chief of Staff General Mark Milley told senators that the Army is in the process of developing a bullet powerful enough to penetrate body armor strong enough to protect against 5.56 mm rounds.
“Our adversaries are selling hard armor plates that can withstand 5.56 mm rounds for about $250 on the Internet,” Milley explained in a hearing with the Senate Armed Services Committee, adding, “We’re pretty sure we have a solution, a bullet we’ve developed that can penetrate those plates.”
The Army Times is reporting that at Fort Benning the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence is testing various caliber rounds, ranging from 5.56 mm to 7.62 mm, which is what U.S troops use. Milley emphasized that they are focusing on increasing the lethality of the bullet, not on developing a new rifle. When the senators asked whether the higher-caliber round would necessitate a new rifle, Miley said that “It may, but it’s unlikely,” although he did say that there are some rifle options available off-the-shelf.
With over 70% of U.S. casualties affecting ground combat troops, primarily within the infantry and special ops. forces, stronger body armor, and a new weapon system, plus higher caliber rounds are “vitally important,” Milley said.
Last week, retired Army Major General Robert Scales in addressing the Senate Armed Services Committee, emphasized that the service needs to give up 5.56 5.56 mm ammunition, as well as the M4 and M16 family of military rifles. We need a new, more modular weapon system with increased lethality.
Major General Scales has spent years arguing against using the M4 and M16, and stated on May 17th that thousands of our dedicated combat troops have “been killed because of the Army’s weapon purchasing bureaucracy and their consistent denial that each individual soldier’s weapon is important enough for them to give serious attention to.”