Aug. 15 (UPI) -- The Marine Corps is requesting 50,000 M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles to replace the M4 carbine that infantry and other units currently use.
The 50,000 would be in addition to the 11,000 already ordered, the Marine Corps Times has reported. The initial order was to replace most M249 Squad Automatic Weapons in Marine service, with the SAW held in reserve.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller had praised the weapon in April and said he was considering it for more general issue to Marine combat units to replace the M4. The M4 is the carbine version of the M16 rifle, which has been used under a number of variations for nearly 60 years.
"Everything I have seen suggests that the M27s we have been using for some time have been the most reliable, durable, and accurate weapons in our rifle squads," Neller said in a statement.
The M27 IAR is based on the Heckler & Koch HK416 assault rifle. It has a heavier, longer barrel than the M4 and is capable of fully automatic fire from standard 30-round magazines. It includes a bipod, foregrip and the Trijicon Squad Day Optic as standard equipment.
The weapon is not capable of the level of suppressive fire than that of the heavier belt-fed M249, but the Marine Corps believes that the weapon makes up for it with greater accuracy and ease of carry.
The M27 has seen use in Afghanistan and has received positive reception from users citing its accuracy, reliability and portability.