The 5.56 X 45mm “Timeline” – 1990

A Chronology of Development by Daniel E. Watters

1990

 

The Weapon System Management Directorate at Rock Island Arsenal conducts a Fielded Systems Review of the M16A2. For the most part, the rifle is well received. They are complaints however about the 3 round burst feature, and the accuracy of the M855 and M856 cartridge.

The British hold additional Environmental User Trials for the SA80. Only one modification package for the IW/LSW is tested. These are known as the XL85E5 and XL86E5. Parts modified for the E5 include the following:

  • Trigger
  • Safety plunger
  • Hold open latch
  • Interceptor sear
  • Ejection port dust cover
  • Dust cover spring
  • Gas block
  • Gas plug
  • Handguard

IMI introduces the Negev LMG.

HK licenses manufacture of the HK53 to Greece.

CIS introduces the SR88A, a product improved SR88.

The Czech State Defense Council instructs CZ to produce a 5.56mm version of the LADA.

GIAT purchases FN. With this, GIAT quietly shelves their 5.7x22mm PDW project.

January:
AMCCOM awards a $30,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

AMCCOM awards a $13,580,000 contract modification to FNMI for the M16A2.

The M4 Carbine Required Operational Capability Document is issued.

AMCCOM awards a $88,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

The British ITDU starts SA80 Cold Trials.

February:
The British ITDU ends SA80 Cold Trials. The ITDU also tests a shroud for the SA80’s magazine catch.

British armorers receive an improved hold open device for retrofit to the SA80.

March:
Colt Industries finalizes its agreement to sell the Colt Firearms Division to CF Holding Company. The ownership of the renamed Colt’s Manufacturing Company will include the striking union employees, current Colt management, and the state of Connecticut. As a result of the sale, the four year old labor strike at Colt ends.

AMCCOM awards a $10,104,000 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

AMCCOM requests a JAG legal review of the ACR candidates to ensure that they comply with international laws of war.

AMCCOM awards a $167,000 contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM awards a $73,000 contract modification to Steyr for ACR RDT&E.

FN‘s Rene Predazzer receives US Patent #4,905,394 titled “Top Mounted Longitudinal Magazine.”

Spring:
The Burmese Army contacts Omnipol in Czechoslovakia about converting their 7.62mm G3 rifles to 5.56mm.

April:
The US Army awards a contract to Bushmaster for 65 carbines having “all the physical and technical characteristics of the M4 Carbine.”

The British ITDU restarts SA80 Hot/Dry Trials at Ascension Island.

HK and Dynamit Nobel develop an experimental 4.7x25mm caseless cartridge, essentially a short variant of their DM11 caseless rifle cartridge. HK plans to use it for the development of a new PDW project known internally as the NBW (Nahbereichswaffe: Close Range Weapon).

AMCCOM awards a $1,428,000 contract to Center Industries.

May:
AMCCOM awards a $236,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement. AMCCOM also awards a $28,000 contract modification related to the M16 and M203.

The International Affairs Division of the Office of the Judge Advocate General issues a legal review of the ACR candidates. All of the rifles are considered to be compliant with the international laws of war.

The military specification for the M200 Blank, MIL-C-60616B(AR), is revised to MIL-C-60616C(AR).

The military specification for 5.56mm Heavy Bullet Reference cartridges, MIL-C-70460A(AR), is amended.

The British MOD introduce a product improvement kit for the L85/L86 family. Changes include a redesigned trigger, cross bolt safety, and a number of other small parts, pins, and assemblies. (However, less than half of weapons will have been upgraded by 1993.)

The British ITDU ends SA80 Hot/Dry Trials at Ascension Island. The MRBS is 260. (Reportedly, the threshold figure was a mere 120 MRBS, with an objective figure of 240 MRBS.)

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,928,597 titled “Ring Fuze for Firearm Ammunition.”

AMCCOM awards a $39,000 contract modification to FNMI related to the M16.

The USAIS creates a draft ROC document reinitiating the search for an optical sight for the M16A2. It also suggests that the same sight be used with the M249.

June:
Italy adopts the Beretta AR70/90.

HK‘s Rudolf Brandl and Heinz Matt receive US Patent #4,930,400 titled “Magazine with Linkless Cartridge Feed System.”

Two Czech specialists are sent to Rangoon to begin work on the G3 conversion to 5.56mm. They test a pair of G3 already converted by the Burmese. These are found to be lacking in reliability and accuracy. As a result, the Burmese Army decides to have the Czech firm ZVS-VVÚ develop a conversion process. The Czech firm subsequently converts three G3 and completes their testing by the end of the year.

Beta Co. sends an interim report to the British MOD concerning the SA80 and the C-Mag. The MOD indicates that there is no formal requirement for a 100 round magazine, but agrees to loan an additional pair of weapons of the improved design.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,930,241 titled “Hand-Held Firearm Provided with a Detachable Sight.”

Summer:
Improved Ultimax 100 are shipped to Naval Weapons Support Center-Crane for further testing.

July:
AMCCOM awards a $1,796,000 contract modification to Colt related to the M16 and M203.

AMCCOM awards a $73,000 contract modification to AAI for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM deallocates $98,000 in a contract modification to HK for ACR RDT&E.

AMCCOM deallocates $53,000 in a contract modification to Steyr for ACR RDT&E.

Gene Stoner receives US Patent #4,942,802 titled “Convertible, Belt/Clip-Fed Automatic Gun with Positive Shell Casing Ejection.”

British armorers receive an improved bipod lock for retrofit to the LSW. The new lock is to help prevent the accident release of the bipod legs from the folded position.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,944,109 titled “Rifle.”

August:
The ACR field trials end.

FNMI receives an order for 20,000 M16A2.

AMCCOM awards $8,400,000 and $1,441,000 contract modifications to FNMI for the M16A2.

Colt and ARMS, Inc. sign a non-disclosure agreement relating to their improved flat-top rail design. Oddly, the final design does not match the dimensions of Swan’s earlier rail designed for the Canadians.

Colt’s lawsuit against Daewoo and the South Korean Ministry of National Defense is settled.

Steyr’s Ulrich Zedrosser receives US Patent #4,949,493 titled “Firearm.”

September:
All US Army testing of the ACR candidates end.

AMCCOM awards a $7,003,000 contract modification to FNMI for M249.

Naval Weapons Support Center-Crane publishes its final report regarding Ultimax 100 testing.

The British ITDU retests a shroud for the SA80’s magazine catch and a bipod catch shroud for the LSW.

AMCCOM awards a $3,850,000 contract to Okay Industries Inc.

The ITDU also begins provisional assessment of a SCDRE modified sling for the SA80.

October:
AMCCOM awards a $139,000 contract modification to Colt related to the 1967 Licensing Agreement.

The military specifications for M855 Ball, 5.56mm Heavy Bullet Reference cartridges, and the M857 Dummy Cartridge are validated.

IMI‘s Adi Flashkes files an US patent application for the design of the IMI Negev.

The British ITDU ends provisional assessment of a SCDRE modified sling for the SA80.

November:
AMCCOM awards a $172,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

December:
AMCCOM awards a $13,603,000 contract modification to FNMI for M16A2.

AMCCOM awards a $1,425,000 delivery order to FN related to the M249.

(Next: 5.56mm 1991)

by Daniel E. Watters, Small Arms Historian
Post questions or comments at The 5.56mm Timeline’s Facebook page.

Document History
Publication: 12/10/1998
Last Revised: 05/17/2009

 

Author’s Note
This article was originally published at The Gun Zone — The Gunperson’s Authoritative Internet Information Resource. My friend and mentor Dean Speir has graciously hosted my articles at TGZ for nearly 16 years. These articles would likely have never appeared online without his constant encouragement and assistance. 

With TGZ’s closure in early 2017, Dean encouraged me to find a new home for my scholarship so it wouldn’t be lost in the dustbin of the Internet. Loose Rounds has welcomed me with open arms. In the future, I intend to expand my legacy TGZ articles and add new contributions here at Loose Rounds.

 

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