When the time came for developmental and operational testing of the SAW candidates, three 5.56 mm candidate weapons were included with the 6 mm candidates: the M16 HBAR, the FN Minimi, and the HK 23A1. The initial round of tests ended in December 1974.In February 1976, the Minimi and Rodman XM235 SAW were selected for further development.In June, it was requested that the SAW specifications document be revised to emphasize standard 5.56 mm ammunition. In October, the requested revisions were approved, and bids were solicited for the conversion of the Rodman XM235 to 5.56 mm. Production of the converted XM235 was awarded to Ford Aerospace, and its designation was changed to XM248.A new M16 HBAR variant, the XM106, was developed in 1978, and soon after, HK lobbied to include a 5.56 mm conversion of its HK 21A1 in future SAW testing. The latter model was designated the XM262. At this time, the Minimi received the designation XM249. Testing of the four candidates resumed in April 1979. In May 1980, the XM249 was selected as the best choice for future development on the grounds of performance and cost, while the XM262 reportedly came a close second.In September, FN was awarded a "maturity phase" contract for further development of the XM249 and testing of the new weapon began in June 1981.The official adoption took place on February 1, 1982. The new gun entered U.S. Army service as the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in 1984, and was adopted by the U.S. Marine Corps a year later.
Conflict: Desert Strom Edit
The M249, called "M249 SAW Light Machine Gun" in-game, is the second primary weapon used by the Heavy Weapons Specialist.