United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) is in the process of adopting the FN MK48 MOD 0 7.62mm Lightweight Machine Gun (LWMG) as it’s new 7.62x51mm machine gun. Basically, the MK48 MOD 0 is a beefed-up version of the FN MK46 MOD 0 5.56 LMG/SAW (Light Machine Gun/Squad Automatic Weapon), a MK46 MOD 0 on steroids, if you will. For those not aware, the MK46 MOD 0 is a modified version fo the FN M249 SAW that’s been optimized for SPECOPS/SPECWAR applications. The Special Operations community needed a 5.56x45mm LMG/SAW for their specific applications. So far, according to DefRev’s understanding, U.S. Special Operations (specifically, Naval Special Warfare) feedback on the MK46 MOD 0 has been positive.
So, the new FN MK48 MOD 0 lightweight machine gun will give U.S. military SpecWar operators 7.62x51mm punch combined with MK46-like weight and handling qualities. Perhaps not quite (the MK48 MOD 0 is a little larger and heavier), but close. Let’s put it this way, the FN MK48 MOD 0 LWMG is a much lighter-weight and better-handling package than the…
FN M240B 7.62mm GPMG (modified FN MAG-58). The MK 48 MOD 0 LWMG is even lighter than the M60E4/MK43 Mod 0 7.62mm GPMG, which weighs 22.5 lbs at a length of 37.7 inches (overall length) with the shortest barrel. The M240B, in particular, has always been WAY too big and heavy for mobile infantry combat (on foot). The 27 lb M240B GPMG has always been more at home either in a fixed position or mounted on a vehicle, rather than being carried around and fired on-the-move by soldiers. The M240B is especially too heavy for Special Operations-style running and gunning. That said, the FN M240B is combat reliable, and a masterpiece of engineering.
At 18.5 lbs and 39.5 inches overall length, the MK48 MOD 0 machine gun is going to be much easier to carry around and handle in tight spots during urban warfare and CQB (Close Quarters Battle). 21st Century infantry combat is going to be increasingly fought in urban environments, so infantry small arms will have to be geared for urban warfare operations and CQB. Anyway, the March, 2002 DoD (Department of Defense) contract award to FN Manufacturing, Inc. for 2,500 MK48 MOD 0 7.62mm lightweight machine guns (LWMG) and the required auxilliary support equipment (barrels, tool and gauge kits, collapsible/telescoping buttstocks, and blank firing barrels) is supposed to be completed by March 2007.
Robert Bruce has written a really great article on the FN MK48 MOD 0 7.62mm lightweight machine gun (LWMG) for the July 2004 Issue (Vo.7 No. 10) of Small Arms Review (SAR). Mr. Bruce’s article is very thorough, and is the best article DefRev’s read to date on the MK48 MOD 0 machine gun. Anyone interested in learning more about this 7.62x51mm "big brother" to the MK46 MOD 0 LMG/SAW would be well advised to pick up a copy. "Small Arms Review" can be contacted by phone at 702-565-2926. Dan Shea , SAR’s owner/editor-in-chief can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.