New light machine gun enters service for Singapore Army

SINGAPORE – Infantry soldiers here have started using a more reliable, accurate and ergonomic light machine gun (LMG) that is better suited for close-quarters combat.

The Singapore Armed Forces announced on May 20 that the Army has been progressively equipping its soldiers with the 6940E-SG infantry automatic rifle (IAR) since April 2024, replacing the Ultimax 100 section automatic weapon (SAW) manufactured in Singapore, which has been in use. service since 1982.

Manufactured by US-based Colt’s Manufacturing, the LMG 6940E-SGs were evaluated and procured in partnership with the Defense Science and Technology Agency, the SAF said on Facebook.

The new LMG comes with “many features that provide increased lethality, improved ergonomics and customization to better fit the needs of our soldiers,” he added.

For example, fire controls can be accessed from both sides of the weapon, meaning both right- and left-handed soldiers can operate the LMG more easily.

The foregrip and stock of the new LMG can be adjusted for a more personalized fit, while a picatinny rail allows the weapon to be customized with new modules to meet the military’s future needs.

LMGs are infantry support weapons for an individual soldier to provide suppressive firepower so a squad of soldiers can move or advance.

In a 2016 issue of Army News magazine, the Sudanese Armed Forces noted that the SAW was being used by at least 12 countries, including Brunei, Peru and the Philippines.

In its Facebook post, the Army cited two soldiers who shared their experience using the new LMG.

Third Warrant Officer Muhammad Noh Muti, a platoon trainer at the SAF Motor Training Institute, said the Colt LMG has surpassed the SAW in terms of accuracy and reliability, although it is more suitable for close quarters and urban operations.

With the stock retracted, the 6940E-SG rifle measures 85 cm long, or 17 percent shorter than the SAW it replaces.

The new rifle also has a red dot sight and 3x magnifier, as well as a multipurpose laser aiming device and flashlight.

“With its ability to change its magnification from 1x to 3x, it allows our Soldiers to acquire targets at multiple ranges and different terrains,” said 3WO Muhammad Noh.

A photo of the LMG released by the SAF also showed a high-capacity drum magazine alongside the standard 30-round magazine.

The Straits Times has identified the drum magazine as the PMAG D-60 lightweight magazine made by Magpul in the US, which can hold up to 60 rounds.

ST has asked Mindef when the SAF plans to complete the transition from the SAW to the LMG and whether the LMG will be built in Singapore.

The Republic has produced the Colt AR-15 and M-16 rifles under license for its own use since the 1970s, and the LMG is based on the M-16 and M4 family of carbines.