It’s no secret that the US military is gearing up to deploy a new generation of cannon fodder guns, and the US Army’s own toy gun is no exception.
In 2017, the US Marine Corps announced plans to test out an AR-15-style rifle-style gun that could replace existing M4 carbines and M4A1s in the service.
But, with US Army officials reportedly considering fielding the weapon in 2020, the toy gun itself is far from set in stone.
“They’ve already been testing them out,” Marine Corps spokeswoman Maj. Heather Kuehl told Wired.com.
“There’s nothing set in motion.”
The gun is a joint project between the US Marines and the Pentagon’s Office of Naval Research.
The idea is to test how the gun would perform when firing a “factory-quality” round, or how well it would hold a round when reloading it.
The gun’s official name is the Precision Rifle-Launched Small Arms System, or PRISMA-LR, and is a part of the Marine Corps’ Precision Long Range Precision Gun Initiative.
The program is meant to test new gun designs that would improve the accuracy and range of munitions and weapons in the US’ arsenal.
“It’s a high-tech weapon, but it’s not something that we’re looking to replace,” Marine Gen. Joseph P. Dunford Jr., who heads the US Department of Defense, said at the time.
“We’re looking for ways to improve our firepower.”
It’s not the first time the Marine corps has experimented with a new type of weapon in the field.
The Marines also tested a modified M-1 Abrams tank in the mid-2000s and an M-16 rifle-based weapon in 2010.
Both weapons proved to be highly effective and reliable, but both proved to have serious drawbacks, including a lack of a trigger.
The new weapon could be an upgrade over those prototypes.
The Marine Corps plans to conduct a trial in 2020 with a mock-up of the PRISMSA, which is also called the PRSSA.
According to a statement by the Marine, the gun “will be an integral part of Marine Corps weapon doctrine, with a purpose of increasing lethality and survivability in an operational environment.”
That includes the deployment of M-4 carbine infantry fighting vehicles and new weapons for the US Navy.
“The PRISAMSSA will provide a more versatile and effective solution for our current M4/M16 infantry platforms,” the statement added.
“This innovative system will allow us to deliver a better, more lethal weapon to our Marines and our nation while ensuring the Marine’s ability to effectively fight the enemy in a more deadly, tactical, and effective manner.”