By Allison Kirschbaum

With new technologies rising and being introduced in the Armed forces, the US special forces aim to have more enhanced weapons in their small teams. They are targeting to have a more lightweight shoulder-fired rocket, a long-range sniper rifle, and land and air-based weaponized drones. At the Special Operations Force Week conference, Lt. Col. Tosh Lancaster mentioned to the audience that the U.S. Special Operations Command intends to issue a proposal for information surrounding a “Javelin Light” by late 2024 or early 2025. Small teams of special operators can use the current shoulder-fired, anti-tank Javelin rocket in a smaller package under the program for a tactical precision missile.

6 Notable Weapons of the Top US Special Forces

1. M4A1 Carbine

This weapon is a shorter version of the M16A2 assault rifle but is a favorite among US special forces. Its NATO caliber is 5.56mmx45mm, and it has a rotating bolt action that is gas-operated. It is usually fed from 30-round STANAG magazines.

2. CQBR Carbine

It is designed mainly for Close-Quarters Battle and is shorter than the M4 / M4A1. Its barrel length is 10.3 inches, compared to the M4's 14.5 inches. The CQBR is typically used for hostage rescue, operations in tight spaces on ships, and VIP protection.

3. MP5 Submachine Gun

For over thirty years, this has been one of the favorite weapons of US special forces units due to its accuracy, compactness, and reliability. There was also a time when it was a weapon of choice to counter terrorist units, DEVGRU, Navy SEAL boarding teams, and Delta Force.

4. Walther MP

This is a 9mm sub-machine gun with two variants, the MPL and the shorter MPK. It features a folding tubular stock with a blowback design that fires from an L-shaped bolt. The shorter version can be concealed under clothing.

5. M249 Squad Automatic Weapon

It is a light machine gun used across the US military and comes in numerous variants. Some of its designs were created solely for the US special forces. It fires 5.56mmx45mm NATO ammunition.

6. M79 Grenade Launcher

This weapon is also known as the Thumper, a single-shot 40mm grenade launcher used during the Vietnam War. Despite its age, it is still used occasionally, especially by the top US special forces.

US Special Forces Units Weapon Upgrade

The Javelin, a 127mm caliber rocket invented by Lockheed Martin, has operated since the 1990s. The Ukrainian military is also using this weapon against their enemies in the ongoing conflict. This top US special forces weapon can strike targets at a length of 65 to 4,000 meters, but it will still depend on the operating conditions.

According to a 2023 Pentagon test report, RTX and Defense contractor Lockheed Martin are collaborating to modernize the Javelin. The project's benefits include lightening the system's standard unit and upgrading its missiles. It should be on the field and running by 2025.

US special forces are also pursuing a so-called Extreme Long Range Sniper Rifle, which should aim to strike a target at 2,500 meters or beyond. This project was first proclaimed in December, and it will replace the existing sniper rifles M107 and MK15—both have great ranges of 2,000 and 1,800 meters. Further, these weapons are chambered in .50 caliber. However, the new one could have the same caliber or a different round.

Lancaster further mentioned that they are seeking greater weapons that they can grasp. Even if it's just an improvement of the current .50-caliber system, it will be a huge improvement.

To add more punch and options to the planned weapon upgrade, the US special forces have even expanded its continuing effort to support its teams with their loitering munitions. The plan is to add ground robotics to the mix of lethal options.

Lancaster mentioned that the program for precision strike systems is now moving towards unmanned precision effects. This move will give operators options if they want to have a conventional strike or use electromagnetic attack tools. Ideally, for this feature, there will be an aerial drone or a man-portable ground robot with a “bolt-on” lethality. US special forces units operating the tool can install or attach various sensors or weapons to the ground or aerial system.

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