Task and Purpose
While a handful of lucky Marines with 1st Marine Expeditionary Force units are already rocking the Mk 13 Mod 7 (the Corps' first new sniper system since the adoption of the M40 during the Vietnam War) in their kits, there are plans to field the rifle to II MEF and II MEF units through 2019 - and Marines already love it.
With the fiscal year 2019 defense budget put to bed without a bloody fight among lawmakers for the first time in recent memory, there are plenty of goodies for rank-and-file U.S. service members tucked into the massive appropriation measure - and not just their largest pay raise in more than a decade.
Here's a brief overview of all the new gear headed into the waiting hands of soldiers and Marines downrange in 2019.
An M4 replacement - for Marines, at least
While the Army continues to hash out the details of its next-generation rifle, the Marine Corps in April announced plans to snag up to 15,000 M27 infantry Automatic Rifles produced by Heckler & Koch as a replacement for the M4 carbine, with additional plans to actually field the new rifles to active and reserve infantry platoons at the beginning of 2019. Given some of the problems that cropped up during testing of the platform, time will tell if the Army's decision to stick with its homegrown rifle was the right one.
(This first appeared in December 2018.)
New sniper systems for Marines